Updated: January 11, 2014 2:17PM
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Mike Pence says former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was a soldier and a leader who served that nation in times of war and peace, while a Gary rabbi called him one of Israel’s greatest military leaders.
The Israeli soldier-turned-politician-turned statesman died Saturday, eight years after a stroke put him in a coma. He was 85.
Pence said “Sharon dedicated his life to the security and well-being of our most cherished ally and he will forever be remembered with respect by her people and her friends.”
Rabbi Stanley Halpern of Temple Israel in Miller called Sharon one of Israel’s most iconic leaders and one of its greatest military leaders of all time.
“Sharon in many ways represented to the American Jewish community the inner conflict between the need for the State of Israel to defend itself and the desire for Israel to always behave in a fitting manner,” said Halpern.
“Every government has an obligation to protect its citizens while remaining righteous, which shows best what Judaism stands for,” Halpern said.
“Sharon was better able to face that challenge than anyone else,” Halpern said.