An Israeli Soldier, Servant, and Leader

Stand for Israel  |  February 26, 2023

Rabbi Eckstein and Ariel Sharon
RYE Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein handing Ariel Sharon a pledge

A Leader of the IDF

The son of Russian olim (immigrants to the Holy Land), Ariel Sharon joined the Zionist youth movement at age 10 and entered military service at 14. He spent many years in the IDF, most in positions of leadership during the volatile years following the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, 75 years ago.

An IDF leader for over 25 years, Sharon served during the 1948 War of Independence, the 1967 Six-Day War, and the Yom Kippur War of 1973, retiring with the rank of Major-General.

Sharon was elected to the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) in 1973, and went on to serve in a variety of positions, most involving international relations. In the early 1980s, he secured some of the first strategic agreements between Israel and the U.S. and facilitated stronger defense ties with many other nations.

Aliyah, Aliyah, Aliyah

Ariel Sharon also helped bring thousands of olim from Ethiopia to Israel and created programs and housing to absorb the large influx of Russian immigrants to Israel following the fall of the Soviet Union.

A good friend of Rabbi Eckstein and The Fellowship, Sharon once told the Rabbi the most important thing for The Fellowship and our friends to do – “Aliyah, aliyah, aliyah.”

Sharon also thanked The Fellowship for its work not just in aliyah, but for the pro-Israel and inter-faith bridge-building we continue to this day.

We admire this Israeli You Should Know, Ariel Sharon, who said, “If we [are to] reach a situation of true peace, real peace, peace for generations, we will have to make painful concessions. Not in exchange for promises, but rather in exchange for peace.”

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