1. Dont underrate him. That
is the first rule. Over the course of time, many have made that mistake and
paid for it dearly. That is what happened, recently, to the two twin wizards,
Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak. Sharon does not belong in the same league
as Haim Ramon and he is not a Barak look-alike. He belongs in another league
2. He will not be a primus inter
pares. In theory, cabinet ministers are equal, the Prime Minister
being only the first among them. In the UK and other countries, the chief of
the government is indeed called so: Prime Minister or First Minister. This
principle was undermined in Israel, when the law for the direct election of
the Prime Minister was enacted. Some believe that the wheel can be turned back
by the annulment of that law. All this does not concern Sharon. Even if he
were merely the Minister for Tourism, he would have been the dominant figure
in the government, because of his intrinsic weight. For example, he never
gives up on a matter that is important to him. When the government rejects his
proposal, he puts it on the agenda again and again, in one form or another,
until the composition of the meeting is right and his proposal is accepted.
Now, as a Prime Minister elected directly by a crushing majority, his standing
will be even higher. The composition of the government itself is not really
important - it will approve everything he wants.
3. Dont pay attention to what he
says, pay attention only to what he does. Sharon does not tell the truth,
nor does he lie. As Voltaire said, he uses words only to hide his thoughts.
When he prepares for war, he speaks of peace. The words serve to make the
listener relax, put him to sleep, get him confused, mislead him, deceive him,
divert his attention. According to the biblical injunction: "And with
ruses make war." (So says the Hebrew original.) Ben-Gurion wrote about
him: "If he would get rid of his faults, such as not telling the truth
would be an exemplary military leader." At another time Ben-Gurion asked
him if he had weaned himself from "telling untruths". Many people
believe that he did not tell Menachem Begin the truth, either. All this was to
obtain their approval for operations he wanted to undertake.
4. How will he operate? The
center of gravity will shift from the television studios to "Sycamores
Farm", his private estate. This is, for the time being, the end of the
era when television displaced the Knesset and the parties as the sole
political arena. Most work will be done in private conversations between
Sharon and his assistants and by the transmission of his orders.
5. What is his real world-view?
Sharon believes in the classical Jewish-Zionist premises. His world is divided
between Jews and Goyim (non-Jews), all Goyim being potential enemies. Jews are
allowed to use all possible means available, otherwise the Goyim will destroy
them. Universal values are nonsense. Its us against all of them, all of
them against us. As a popular Israeli song goes: "All the world is
against us, but we dont give a damn." Or, to quote the Bible: "The
people shall dwell alone" (Numbers 23,9).
6. What is his Zionist outlook?
Sharon continues the classical line of Ben-Gurion, i.e. an ethnic Jewish state
without fixed borders, that uses every opportunity to expand and settle. This
outlook was expressed brilliantly by Moshe Dayan in a famous funeral speech
after a friend was killed by Arabs: "Who are we that we should argue
against their (the Arabs) hatred?
Before their eyes we turn into our
homestead the land and the villages in which they and their forefathers have
We are a generation of settlers, and without the steel helmet and the
cannon we cannot plant a tree and build a house. Let us not shrink back when
we see the hatred fermenting an filling the lives of hundreds of thousands of
Arabs, who dwell all around us. Let us not avert our eyes, so that our hand
shall not slip. This is the destiny of our generation, the choice of our life:
to be prepared and armed, strong and tough, otherwise the sword will slip from
our fist and our life will be snuffed out." And, lest it be understood
that this is the destiny of his generation only, Dayan added in another speech,
at a meeting of young people on the Golan: "Let no Jew say: this is the
end of the job. Let no man say: we are approaching the end of the way. No, on
This is a process that has gone on for a hundred years. We have
to contribute our part, as much as possible, but not to say: here we are, we
7. Can he make peace? The world
always longs for the man of the Right who will make peace. That makes it easy,
because the man of the Right will bring his camp with him, while the support
of the Left is assured. (For the same reason, it is easier for a government of
the Left to make war or break strikes.) The example of Charles de Gaulle
causes people to think that a Rightist general is the ideal person to make
peace. But Sharon is no de Gaulle. His mental world is quite different.
However, he is quite capable of making a temporary agreement or a partial
settlement, if that gives him an advantage in pursuing the war.
8. What is his principal aim?
Since his aim is to expand the homogenous Jewish State and settle on the land,
the enemy is the Palestinian people. Sharon will use every means - brute
force, ruses, creating divisions to break their resistance.
9. So what will he do? Nobody
but he knows. He always has grand designs, which he is ready to put into
effect when circumstances allow. They are always based on a simplistic
perception, and therefore liable to flounder on the rock of reality. It is
probable that he has not given up his plan of inviting the Palestinians to
topple the King of Jordan and establish "Palestine" over there. If
there were no settlements on the Golan Heights, he could offer the Syrians a
separate peace, in order to outflank the Palestinians. He is toying with the
idea of a grand alliance with Russia, especially if the Americans try to put
pressure on him. Against the Americans he will use all possible ruses, so as
to prevent them from sabotaging his plans.
10. Can his coalition partners
divert him from his course? That is a ridiculous idea. The Labor party is
joining him in a state of bankruptcy, he has a deep contempt for Shimon Peres.
Between Sharon and Zeevi there is no difference, save one: Sharon knows
that the eviction of multitudes of Arabs is possible only in special
circumstances, and until then it is better to keep quiet. He believes that Zeevis
frequent declarations about the "transfer" of Arabs are a big
11. Maybe he will change? A
person like Sharon does not change. When it serves his aims, he can pretend to
have changed, as he did in the last election campaign, when he depicted
himself as the good old grand-father who loves children and sheep. His
appearance as a heavy-set farmer aids him in this. But this is a ruse like all
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