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New Yorkers bid farewell to controversial leader of Israel

ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Story: News of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's death on Saturday (January 11) spread across the world fast, including in New York, where residents called the man both a controversial and great leader. "Ariel was a great leader of Israel. He's been in a coma for eight years so it's unfortunate that he's been with us but he hasn't been with us," one man said outside the historic Central Synagogue on Lexington Avenue. ''And I wish him God's peace and I hope he's granted God's eternal rest." Sharon died on Saturday at Sheba Medical Center, near Tel Aviv, where he had been in a coma since being hit by a stroke at the pinnacle of his power as prime minister in January 2006. The former leader left historic footprints on the Middle East through military invasion and Jewish settlement-building on occupied land the Palestinians seek for a state, but also with a shock decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. "He had so

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