Ariel Sharon, soldier, politician, leader, statesman, and so much more, passed away this afternoon at the age of 85.
In addition to Sharon’s many achievements, in our little piece of the Jewish world, Sharon will also be remembered as the champion of Masa. Sharon’s vision included that young Jews spend one year of their lives in Israel.
In fact, an emotional meeting on Sunday, January 1, 2006, turned out to be Sharon’s last public appearance. That afternoon he met with 21 Jewish students from 12 countries who were in Israel participating on the Masa program.
Prime Minister Sharon greeted the students and remarked, “We need your support, but more than anything else, we need you to come live here, in the State of Israel, the state of the Jewish people.” The prime minister even sang Chanukah songs with the students and jokingly asked that they eat all the donuts served on the table so that none would be left in the office.
Baruch dayan ha-emet.
May his memory be a blessing.