Sycamore Farm, which is said to be the largest private farm in Israel, comprises a thousand acres of citrus groves and grazing land near the desert town of Sederot. It is the home of Ariel (Arik) Sharon, the retired major general and, if the polls are to be trusted, Israel's next Prime Minister. One afternoon, he took me on a tour. We stepped out of the main house, a spare, white stucco building, and got into a dirt-smeared four-by-four. Sharon drove. A second truck followed, filled with plainclothesmen from the Shabak, Israel's internal security service, who carried Uzis. Sharon is Israel's most polarizing public figure; he goes nowhere unprotected, not even to the sheep pens downwind from his house.
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