Hundreds of Parisian Jews gathered at one of the city’s main synagogues to pray for Ariel Sharon’s life last night. The function was called by France’s Grand Rabbi, Joseph Haim Sitruk.
He said: “I’d like everyone to whisper in his heart, in the silence of his consciousness, the thoughts coming from his own knowledge of such an extraordinary man.”
One worshipper said: “Sharon conducted politics with a capital P, meaning he wasn’t just there for the power, for all that comes with it. He was there for the good of Israel and the world.” French President Jacques Chirac said he hoped for the continuation of Sharon’s “brave initiatives.”
In Italy, some of Rome’s Jewish community gathered at a synagogue, joined by Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini.
Fini said Sharon was the “only Israeli leader with the moral and political stature to guarantee peace” for Israel and Palestine. One of those attending prayers said: “We, the Jews of Rome, are very concerned for Sharon. Even in diffcult situations he was able to save the Israeli nation. And he showed great strength when he decided to start peace talks with the Palestinians.”
There were also prayers at Moscow’s new synagogue, where one worshipper said Ariel Sharon was one of the best generals that Israel had had.
The Kremlin, via Russia’s ambassador in Israel, expressed President Putin’ssincere sympathies for Sharon, wishing him the speediest recovery.