The death of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has left a profound hole in the hearts of many leaders and Christians worldwide, who have considered Sharon as one of Israel's greatest leaders.
Sharon died on Saturday, January 11 after spending eight years in permanent vegetative state following a massive hemorrhagic stroke on January 4, 2006. The stroke lead to Sharon's run as Prime Minister efficiently end and see Ehud Olmert take over permanently in April 2006.
The outpour reactions following his death helmed from all across the world, and evangelical Christians who stand behind the nation of Israel also expressed their sorrow.
Former President George W. Bush also expressed his sadness from the passing and dubbed Sharon as a "friend" and "man of peace." "I was honoured to know this man of courage and call him friend. He was a warrior for the ages and a partner in seeking security for the Holy Land and a better, peaceful Middle East." Bush, a long-life Christian and Conservative supported Sharon's infamous departure from Gaza territory for attempted peace with the Palestinians.
Earl and Kathleen Cox, who have been lifelong Christian activists in Israel, held a prayer vigil for the former Prime Minister during the final moments of Sharon's life. Cox and his wife reached out to Sharon's sons to extend their condolences and reminded them "that Evangelical Christians around the world were continuing to remember and pray for [their] father and for the Sharon family who were constantly at Mr. Sharon's bedside."
During his tenure as Prime Minister, Sharon is being remembered for being Israel's consistent peacemaker. Before becoming Prime Minister, Sharon participated in four major wars: the 1956 Suez War, the Six-Day War of 1967, the War of Attrition and the Yom-Kippur War of 1973, and was helmed as a "tough commander."
Sharon notably withdrew the nation from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank in the Israel's unilateral disengagement plan, which granted the territory to the Palestinians rule for stability and conflict resolve.
Pastor Cox, who is also affiliated with International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, called for prayers to the Sharon family. "I am calling on all who love the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to continue praying for Mr. Sharon and for the Sharon family."
Sharon was 85 years old and is survived by his two sons Omri and Gilad. Sharon's funeral was held on January 13 which was attended by many political leaders such as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and former British prime minister Tony Blair. Following the state funeral, a private memorial was held in the family's Negev ranch where Sharon was buried near his wife Lily, who passed away in 2000.