Marit Danon, Sharon’s secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, pays tribute to a man who, she says, she “never managed” to call Arik, no matter how often he asked her to. Danon, who worked for prime ministers Shamir, Rabin, Peres and Barak before him, notes that she had not anticipated working for Sharon — Gilad Sharon once wrote that she handed in her resignation when he was elected in 2001, disliking him by reputation — but says she was entirely won over by the sheer force of his personality.
Shimon “Kacha” Kahaner, who fought alongside Sharon in Unit 101 in the 1950s, eulogizes Sharon, “my commander, teacher and rabbi.”
“Arik’s strength came from his love of the land, and from what the land gave him. It was a two-way relationship,” he says.
“Arik took us, a group of youths, aged 19 more or less, and succeeded in giving us the feeling that the entire security of Israel and the people of Israel rested on our shoulders. He succeeded, without speeches of fire or brimstone, but quietly, he affected us. He taught us how, with determination and faith and courage, it is possible to achieve anything.”
Kahaner calls Sharon “a man with vision. When he was a major, he was already a general. He was a giant. With leadership, professionalism, wisdom.”
Kahaner recalls how Sharon “rescued me when I was wounded in battle in 1955. He wouldn’t leave without removing me from the battlefield. I owe him my life. It is a great privilege to have been under his command.”