Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today on the passing of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon:
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. A fierce defender of the State of Israel during times of war, celebrated as a general on the battlefield, he was also a visionary leader for his country in peacetime who was dedicated to providing lasting security to the people of Israel and a brighter future for all who live in the region.
“During his time in office, I had the opportunity to work with Prime Minister Sharon and his advisors to strengthen the close relationship between the United States and Israel – and to further the strong, bipartisan support for Israel in Congress. His legacy will undoubtedly be one of a monumental leader who had the courage and the foresight to steer others in a new direction. I was on hand in Israel to witness the disengagement from Gaza that he led, which was a testament to Prime Minister Sharon's belief in what he viewed as Israel's greatest asset: the vibrancy of its democracy to respond to its most difficult challenges proactively and pragmatically.
"Though illness took him from office eight years ago, his vision of an end to decades of violence between Israelis and Palestinians continues to shape his country’s path forward as it seeks a final agreement that will bring its people security and new opportunities. I join in expressing my condolences to Prime Minister Sharon’s sons, Omri and Gilad, their families, and all the people of Israel as they mourn his passing.”