Sharon vs. the Army

Ever since Israel's birth as a nation in 1948, the Israel Defense Forces have enjoyed a position of uncommon esteem both in the country and beyond. David Ben-Gurion once remarked that the I.D.F. was perhaps his nation's most successful achievement. The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies this year rated the Israeli military as the fourth most powerful in the world. Yet today, in the wake of the Beirut massacre, many among the I.D.F.'s 172,000 regulars and 504,000 reservists are deeply demoralized.

That rising tide of anger and frustration is directed primarily at one man: Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, a general and...

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