against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has reached alarming new levels on Tuesday, following claims by radical right-wing activsts that a Pulsa Dinura (death curse) was placed on Sharon, and that rabbis have prayed for his demise.
The events were widely condemned by politicians across the political spectrum.
“This phenomenon not only crosses all the red lines, but also violates what is permissible in a democratic country,” said Knesset Member Ehud Yatom, a Likud rebel who is opposed to the disengagement.
“I expect the police to investigate these rabbis and whoever else was responsible for this, to try them, and to imprison them. The fact that the prime minister’s life was threatened like this is unacceptable, irrespective of where one stands on the pullout,” he added.
However, Yatom’s condemnations did not satisfy the chairman of Peace Now, Yariv Openheimer, who called on the whole of the right-wing camp to “do some urgent soul-searching before the next political murder takes place, and not to wait for the day after it happens.”
“We’re not talking about a few bad apples, but an entire field of extremists who are willing to kill to stop the disengagement problem,” said Openheimer.
The settlers' Yesha Council also condemned those behind the Pulsa Dinura against Sharon.
“The struggle against the expulsion must be waged for the hearts and minds of the nation, which is certainly not helped by little ‘ceremonies’ like this,” said the Council in a press statement.
Religious leaders respond
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Meztger said that “any threats, including verbal threats, are forbidden. Its wrong to use religious means to express extremist opinions. Such acts constitute a defilement of God’s name, and they drag the name of Jewish values through the mud. There is no reason the world that can justify threatening the life of Israel’s leader.”
Shas leader and Knesset Member Eli Yishai attacked those behind the incident, calling it “wholly inappropriate” and “lacking any wisdom or understanding. People should work for the love and unity of Israel, not for hatred between the people. Unity will prevent these dubious people from returning us to bitter days.”
Deputy Minister Michael Melchior (Meimad) called on the heads of the religious-Zionist movement to immediately hand in those who participated in the ceremony.
“Religious Zionism can’t lose all restraint in its opposition to the pullout,” said Melchior.
Knesset Member Yosef Paritzky, an ex-Shinui party minister, said the incident was “a barbaric ceremony conducted by pagans. The hallucinatory right is busy with ceremonies and the sane center is busy with disengagement. From my perspective, that can go on. I hope that the Shin Bet, whose job it is to protect the prime minister, learned from its mistakes from the murder of Rabin.”
-- Ilan Marciano contributed to this report