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A leading figure in Redbridge’s Jewish community called former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon “a brilliant general” after the 85-year-old died last week.

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Nicknamed the “Butcher of Beirut”, Sharon suffered a severe stroke in 2006 and remained in a coma for the remaining eight years of his life.

Brian Ash, editor of the Ilford Federation Magazine, pointed to his successes in the Suez Canal against the Egyptians as an example of Sharon’s military acumen.

He said: “He was a brilliant general.

“Israel has got bad press whatever it has done or not done.”

Mr Ash added he felt Sharon’s moniker “The Butcher” was unjust.

The 11th Prime Minister of Israel, Sharon was a highly divisive figure throughout his life.

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