While many right-wing politicians remained silent in the immediate wake of former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s death, MK Orit Strock of the nationalist-Orthodox Jewish Home party took to Facebook to say God deserved praise for removing him from office before he could uproot West Bank settlements as he had uprooted Gaza settlements.
“The truth needs to be said,” Strock wrote on her Facebook wall on Saturday, hours after Sharon succumbed to kidney failure and blood infection following eight years in a coma. She offered rare criticism of the man amid a general outpouring of praise by Israeli and world leaders.
“Sharon was one of the great builders of the land of Israel and one of its great destroyers. [It was] he who knew how to defeat terror and who turned all of southern Israel terror-struck,” she said, referring to rocket-fire from the Gaza Strip which has plagued the south for years, and especially since Hamas took over the enclave in 2007. As prime minister, Sharon ordered Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
“His great determination and ability to decide and act enabled him to reach impressive achievements, and also disastrous developments,” she said.
“Alongside the thanks and appreciation for Sharon’s great contribution to the State of Israel, it’s impossible not to thank the lord almighty that Sharon was taken from public life before he managed to wreak on the residents of the West Bank and ‘greater Judea and Samaria’ the disaster he inflicted upon the residents of Gush Katif [the Gaza settlements] and the Gaza periphery.”
Strock lived in and was evacuated from Yamit, the Jewish settlement in the Sinai Peninsula, an area which Israel captured in the 1967 war. Sharon ordered the demolition of the settlement in 1982 when the territory was handed back to Egypt as part of the 1979 peace accords. Strock then moved to the Jewish settlement in Hebron, where she presently resides.
Strock’s statements on social media provoked a negative backlash, and she later issued a clarification. “Unfortunately my words were misunderstood and I want to clarify: I didn’t pray for the death of Sharon, I didn’t ask for him to get sick, I didn’t hope his premiership would end that way and I have no happiness for the way his life ended.”
Despite that, she said his illness “saved the state of Israel from horrible decline.”