|Release Date:||2006||Running Time:||53 min|
|Language:||Hebrew (English subtitles)||Genre:||Documentary|
|More Info:||Wikipedia Biography||Category:||Israel|
Ariel Sharon was more than just the Prime Minister of Israel — he is also a son, a father, a soldier and a friend. In Sharon: The Man Behind the Myth, the former prime minister’s friends and colleagues reveal the personal side of the ‘Lion of Israel.’
“Sharon was so concerned about [his son] that even in battle when he was tired, in the worst moments, if he couldn’t go home and put him to bed, he did his best to call on the phone and tell him a story,” one of his friends remembers revealing the softer side of a man more commonly thought of as a hardened and aggressive military chief.
Born to Russian immigrants, Ariel Sharon was raised on a humble farm but grew to become a national hero. As the documentary explores his childhood, early military career, and family life, it reveals how personal events shaped the character and political decisions of one of modern Israel’s formative leaders. Through a series of candid interviews, Sharon shares behind-the-scenes events, once hidden from public view, to reveal the politician for the brooding and sensitive loner that he was.
From an early age, Sharon exhibited his exceptional leadership, bravery, and desire to protect his homeland. Before Israel’s War of Independence, gangs of Arabs would spontaneously attack and shoot at Israeli farms, and the small village where Sharon was raised had few weapons, forcing the villagers to defend themselves with sticks. One of his childhood neighbors remembers that as a young man Sharon organized and trained a group of lads to patrol and defend their village and the neighboring villages.
Although he went on to have a military career full of success, Sharon’s personal tragedies have outweighed his public triumphs, the documentary reveals. Sharon became a national hero after his victory commanding the most powerful armored division of the Israeli army during the Six Day War, but immediately afterward he faced one of the biggest devastation of his life. Not knowing any better, a neighbor’s boy found and loaded an old gun and fired it at Sharon’s son’s head. As soon as he heard the gunshot, Sharon raced out of his house and found his son lying in the yard, already dead. Known for his toughness and resilience, Sharon forced himself to focus on his work: only his close acquaintances saw how devastated he was and understood the full effects of the tragedy on him.
In addition to the personal, Sharon doesn’t shy away from tackling politics. Sharon’s political decisions are still shrouded in controversy. At the end of his career, he decided to work to disengage the Gaza settlements in hopes of creating peace between Israelis and Palestinians, a move that drew both support and rage from his countrymen, in equal extremes. “When it came to Arik, you either loved him completely or despised him,” one of Sharon’s colleagues says. “It was always the same—no happy medium with him.”
Strangely, even though Sharon spent his career in the public eye, he never felt quite at ease working in politics, the film suggests. One of Sharon’s friends calls Sharon a loner, stressing that he liked keeping to himself instead of cavorting with other politicians. Ever the farmer’s son, Sharon “felt more at ease stroking a sheep than among the Likud politicians,” he says.
Ultimately, Sharon realizes that public figures don’t fit snugly into the caricatured personalities that we assign to them and that a public image can’t possibly convey the complexity of the man behind it. It’s only Sharon’s friends and family who can see through the public persona to accurately and honestly interpret the true intentions behind the words and actions of an Israeli legend.