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Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon attends a meeting in this February 21, 2005 file photo.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon attends a meeting in this February 21, 2005 file photo.
(David Furst/REUTERS)

PATRICK MARTIN

Sharon: A ruthless enforcer in tune with Israel’s mood

To Arabs, he was the most reviled of all Israeli figures, known as “the butcher.” But to Israelis, Ariel Sharon was, with the possible exception of Israel’s founder David Ben Gurion, the most beloved of their leaders.

Israelis saw something of themselves in this larger-than-life fighter, hero, provocateur, avenger. He reflected the national mood. Whatever the country thought it needed at any particular time, he was the one who did the job, even when it was a dirty one no one else wanted.