Former Israeli PM Sharon commemorated at Great Synagogue in Bucharest

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The Great Synagogue in Bucharest held a ceremony on Tuesday in memory of late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

A picture of Sharon, a billboard showing images from the life and activity of the former Israeli general and prime minister, as well as a panel reading his creed ("First and foremost, I'am a Jew!") and a vase holding a large bouquet of red roses were arranged in front of the altar. A book of condolence has been opened.

The ceremony was organized by the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania (FCER) together with the Bucharest Jews Community, which expressed their solidarity with the grieving Israeli people, authorities and mourning family of Ariel Arik Sharon, former Israeli prime minister and army general.

FCER Chairman Dr. Aurel Vainer, who began his speech with the word Shalom (a Hebrew work meaning peace, used to say hello), paid an homage to the personality of Ariel Arik Sharon, by saying the Israeli Premier had connections to Romania through his mother "who was allegedly of Basarabian descent and his two wives, originally from Brasov."

"Ariel Arik Sharon will remain in our memory as a great figure, a symbol of devotion to the State of Israel," said Vainer, who reviewed Sharon's activity as army general and prime minister of Israel.

The deputy stated that the former Premier can be considered "a hero of the Jewish people in Israel and worldwide and a peace advocate."

Israel's Ambassador in Bucharest Dan Ben-Eliezer said that Ariel Sharon was "an audacious champion, a remarkable general and a brilliant strategist," who loved his country and was loved by his people.

The Israeli diplomat highlighted Sharon's activity as a political leader, his role in establishing and defending the State of Israel and fighting terrorism.

"Ariel Sharon's passing away marks the loss of one of the last founding members of the State of Israel, one of Israel's great protectors and architects. Arik will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace," Dan Ben-Eliezer said.

Otilia Sava, Ministry of Defence state secretary for the relation with Parliament, public information and improvement of quality of life, said Ariel Sharon remains "a symbol and great patriot".

Vice Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea, the representative of Prime Minister Victor Ponta at the event, said Sharon was a man who loved his country and took the boldest decisions for his people, putting his live in the service of the Jewish people, assuming his own destiny, no matter the risks he exposed himself to.

Oprea praised "the military genius and political vision of Ariel Sharon, landmarks for the entire humankind", pointing out that "recalling his life is a true blessing for all of us".

"His legacy is on par with his life, and his life was on par with his destiny. May God rest his soul in peace", Oprea said.

In the opening of the ceremony, Ioaif Adler, first chorister of FCER — The Mosaic Cult, conducted a religious service, with the event being moderated by Paul Schwartz, vice president of FCER and president of the Jews Community in Bucharest. The event ended with violinist Sanziana Dobrovicescu performing "Kaddish" by Maurice Ravel.

Attending the event were Monsignor Francisco-Javier Lozano, Apostolic Nuncio to Romania, Monsignor Ioan Robu, Roman Catholic Metropolitan Bishop of Bucharest, patriarchal advisor Georgica Grigorita, the representative of the Romanian Patriarchy, diplomats, military attaches, figures of the Jewish community in Romania.

Ariel Sharon, who died on Saturday at the age of 85, after spending the last eight years in a coma, was buried with full military honors at his family farm in Negev, southern Israel, near the border with the Gaza Strip. AGERPRES

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