With a final gun salute, the last commemoration ceremony for Ariel Sharon comes to a close.
The ceremonies — at the Knesset, at the Latrun Armored Corps Memorial and Museum, and the burial at Sharon’s Negev ranch — have passed off without incident.
Sharon has been laid to rest in ceremonies attended by representatives from around the world, including US Vice President Biden, and the entire leadership of the State of Israel, including President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu and the cabinet, the justices of the Supreme Court, the heads of all Israel’s security services, friends, relatives, old comrades-at-arms, and small armies of reporters, with thousands of soldiers and police securing the daylong commemoration.
Sharon is the second prime minister to have been laid to rest in the Negev. Israel’s first premier, David Ben Gurion, is buried at Kibbutz Sde Boker in the central Negev.
Mourners are now dispersing from the Sycamore Ranch. Israeli TV is interviewing some as they leave — Dan Halutz, appointed by Sharon as chief of staff; Shas leader Aryeh Deri; Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz, a former chief of staff. Like many others before him in the past few hours, Mofaz talks about Sharon’s insistence as prime minister in knowing from his military chiefs exactly what was going on the ground — reminding them of the broader picture, trusting their judgment about tactics and details.
The day’s ceremonies have largely highlighted the consensual aspects of Sharon’s extraordinary military and political careers, as is only to be expected on such occasions. Netanyahu, at the Knesset in the morning, acknowledged their disagreements, but eased quickly over them. Perhaps the most outspoken address came from an emotional Gilad Sharon, who both mourned his father and robustly defended his legacy — a passionate conclusion to a series of ceremonies mourning a remarkable Israeli leader.
On which note, we thank you for following Ariel Sharon’s funeral ceremonies with us today at The Times of Israel.