Peres: ‘Your footprints are etched in every hill and vale’

President Shimon Peres eulogizes Sharon, who for many years was his bitter political foe while the two served in the Knesset and in cabinet positions with the Labor and Likud parties, respectively.

Peres begins: “Arik, friend, leader and commander. We take our leave of you today, Arik. You were the shoulder on which our nation’s security rested. The story of your life is interwoven with the history of the state. Your footprints are etched in every hill and vale. You reaped the harvest with a sickle and defended the sheaves with a sword. Your fingerprints are visible in every diplomatic achievement and military outpost.”

The president describes his first meeting with Sharon, whose reputation preceded him as “smart and brave, unconventional and impetuous, with leadership skills and resoluteness. A soldier who does not flee from the enemy, a citizen who does not fear vision.” Sharon, he says, “was born for great things.” He says Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, loved Sharon “at first sight.”