Ariel Sharon listens to Rupert Murdoch.

Israel’s Statesman Warrior

Really a Farmer at Heart


RIEL SHARON still can’t believe he is running the government. He was born on a farm but earned a law degree at Hebrew University and went on to become a war hero and statesman.

“The Happy Warrior” is how Mortimer Zuckerman addressed the Israeli prime minister.

“The only thing I really know is farming,” said Sharon, who still lives on a ranch in the Negev. He was the keynote speaker at the America-Israel Friendship League’s Partners for Democracy Awards at New York’s Pierre Hotel.

AIFL chairman Kenneth Bialkin and president Zuckerman presented awards to three American companies that have high stakes in Israel’s high tech industry.

Stepping forward to accept on behalf of AOL Time Warner, vice chairman Ken Novak tried to keep his remarks brief.

He recalled a dinner where Rabbi Harold Kushner defined the best speech as one that can be reduced to a message of 10 words. The rabbi’s oratory consisted of: “My daughter graduated from college and needs a job.”

It was odd witnessing Zuckerman, who owns the New York Daily News, handing an award to his zealous competitor, Rupert Murdoch, who owns the New York Post.

“The New York Post is not for sale, Mort!” declared Paula Zahn, anchor of  The Edge on Fox News, also a Murdoch property.

Unperturbed, Murdoch, head of News Corporation, graciously accepted the award from his arch rival, and called attention to his News Digital Systems which is based in Jerusalem and is a global leader in the digital TV industry.

The third awardee, Lawrence Ricciardi, senior vice president of IBM, proudly noted that “our largest technology research laboratory outside the United States is in Haifa.”

Paula Zahn, in charge of the dais, couldn’t figure out what she was: master of ceremonies or mistress of ceremonies?

She consulted The New York Times’ word maven, William Safire, who told her: “Forget mistress, forget master. You are the emcee.”


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