Israeli Prime Minster Ariel Sharon attends a meeting at his office in Jerusalem on Dec. 12, 2005.
(Photo: Oded Balilty, AP)
Former Israeli prime minister and military leader Ariel Sharon was one of the nation's most influential and controversial figures. Here's a list of lesser-known facts about his life.
1) His birth name is Ariel Scheinerman and his nickname is Arik.
2) Sharon was a member of the underground Jewish military organization Haganah. He joined at age 14 to fight for Israeli independence from British rule.
3) During the War of Independence in 1948, Sharon was made a platoon commander. In one of the battles of Latrun, he was seriously wounded after being shot in the stomach. Later, he said that it was a horrible battle and was particularly regretful about the men that were left behind on the battlefield.
4) Among his military accomplishments, the photo of Sharon wearing a head bandage on the Suez Canal after a decisive ground maneuver helped seal his reputation as a war hero in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War.
5) Sharon, 5-foot-7 and a meat lover, at times has weighed more than 300 pounds. Doctors ordered him to go on a diet in 2005 after a minor stroke in 2005.
6) His second wife, Lili Yehuda, was the younger sister of his first wife, Margalit Yehuda. Margalit died in a car accident in 1962.
7) Sharon's eldest son Gur died at age 11 in a gun accident in 1967.
8) Before suffering more serious health complications, Sharon was relatively healthy despite his weight. He had kidney stones removed in February 2004.
9) Sharon also took medication for gout and to regulate his lymph nodes.
10) Sharon was very connected to his family farm in the Negev Desert. He asked for updated information when every calf was born, according to Sharon: The Life of a Leader.
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