Quotes from memorial service for Israel's Sharon

JERUSALEM (AP) — Here is a selection of quotes from dignitaries at the state memorial ceremony held Monday in Jerusalem for former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"The man had a command and presence. He filled the room ... he was indomitable ... Like all historic leaders, all real leaders, he had a north star that guided him. A north star from which he never, in my observation, never deviated. His north star was the survival of the State of Israel and the Jewish people wherever they resided." — U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

"Arik was a man of actions, pragmatic, and his pragmatism was rooted in deep emotion, deep emotion for the country and deep emotion for the Jewish people." — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, referring to Sharon by his popular nickname, Arik.

"You were the shoulder on which Israel's security rested. The story of your life is bound to the story of this country. And your life was dedicated to the life of this country. Your footprints are imprinted on every hill and in every valley. You cultivated the land with your scythe and defended it with your sword." — Israeli President Shimon Peres.

"The idea that he changed from the man of war to the man of peace misses that which defined him. Actually, he never changed. His strategic objective never wavered. The state which from the age of 14, he fought to bring into being, had to be protected for future generations. When that meant fighting, he fought. When that meant making peace, he sought peace. And the same iron determination he took to the field of war he took to the chamber of diplomacy. Bold. Unorthodox. Unyielding." — Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"I had a big privilege to work for years alongside you, a hero of Israel, to build our country ... Because of that background, your disengagement from the path we walked together during your last two years in office was difficult and painful." — old friend and comrade-in-arms, Zeev Chever, also known as Zambish, on Sharon's decision to pull out Israeli troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip.

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