Jan. 12 - Ariel Sharon's death evokes divided sentiments among Israelis, some proud of how he defended the state, others angry that he withdrew from Gaza. Michaela Cabrera reports.
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As Israel mourns the death of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, citizens are divided over his legacy.
The ex-military commander was a champion of expanding territory, and he was reviled for his harsh tactics against Palestinians.
But he stunned his own countrymen and the world in 2005 when he withdrew all Israeli settlers and troops from Gaza.
Some Israelis still resent this move.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) JERUSALEM RESIDENT, MORDAKHAI WILLNER, SAYING:
"I am happy that he died...because he chased Jews out of their homes and he caused suffering."
Others appreciate his defense of Israel.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) JERUSALEM RESIDENT, MOSHE HAIN, SAYING:
"He led the country from the very beginning through all the wars and all the political ups and downs. You can agree or not agree with what he did with Gaza, but I think all in all he's a man who gave his whole life for the Jewish people, and the Jewish state. He will be written in the history books for the Jewish nation as a great leader."
A close aide of Sharon's, Raanan Gissin, described him as a political architect, served by a lesson he learned from the battlefield to take decisive action. As such, he sought peace on his own terms.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER SENIOR AIDE TO THEN-PRIME MINISTER ARIEL SHARON, RAANAN GISSIN, SAYING:
"He will be remembered, I think, in Israel as the essence of the new Israel. He knew Israel as far as military is concerned, economic development, agriculture. He was everything. To everyone in Israel, he represented something that was truly Israeli."
Sharon is survived by his two sons and a number of grandchildren and will be buried at his family farm in the Negev desert.
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