Shortly after the eruption of the second Palestinian intifada in 2000 – an uprising allegedly, though not actually, triggered by an infamous Ariel Sharon walkabout atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem – I was visiting Sharon’s ranch in southern Israel for the harvest holiday of Sukkot. Sharon, who died today at 85 after eight years in a stroke-induced coma, had erected a sukkah – a temporary open-air hut meant to serve as a symbolic shelter – that could seat 200 people. He was the leader of the Likud party then, contemplating a run for prime minister, and the sukkah was overflowing with party activists. The mood was celebratory. At one point, a small group of young activists took up a chant: “Arik, King of Israel,” using Sharon’s nickname. Many members of the Likud Knesset faction were present. I sat for a while with one of the toughest Likud hardliners, Uzi Landau, who was in a gloating mood.