Sternhell leaving the hospital
Kouchner. An affront to values
Photo: AFP

Prof. Sternhell: I'll continue to voice my views

Shortly after returning from hospital, Israel Prize laureate wounded by pipe bomb detonated at his front door says he did not receive any threats recently, did not feel he was being followed; adds he knows he is 'a red rag to settlements'

Professor Ze'ev Sternhell, who was wounded after unknown persons detonated a pipe bomb at his front door on Thursday, was released from the hospital on Friday afternoon. He was confirmed to be in good condition.


"I did not feel I was being followed or that my house was being watched, and I did not feel any unusual movement," he told reporters in his backyard.


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Strenhell said he does not blame the settlers, who he claims do not like him. He noted, however, that he is aware of the fact he is a "red rag to settlements."


For dozens of years I have been claiming that the settlements are a historical disaster, he said, and they may make the State binational, and "this would be the end of the State of Israel."


According to the professor, he did not receive any threat calls. "My wife got two such phone calls several months ago, but there have been no threats against me in recent years. A few years ago there were some threats following an article I wrote. At the time the police briefed me on the matter, but I just laughed it off."

Not interested in security. Prof. Sternhell in his backyard (Photo: Gil Yohanan) 


As for the timing of the incident, Sternhell said, "I don't know why what happened, happened now. I never ceased to write and voice my views on the media."


Asked about the lessons he has drawn from the attack and the need to take precaution, the professor replied, "From the moment I returned home, my life is back on track, as it was until now. There will no change whatsoever. I'll continue locking the doors, not because what happened but due to the multiple burglaries in the area, and I'll continue to preach and voice my views as I have done till now."


Prof. Sternhell said he didn’t know who carried out the attack, saying it could be a lone lunatic or a new or old organization.


"One thing is clear: (former Prime Minister Yitzhak) Rabin's murder was much more severe than what happened to me. But we have reached a reality in which it is okay to use violence against those who don't share the other side's opinions."


He added that he had felt people did learn a lesson following the Rabin murder, but that reality had apparently proved him wrong.


"Things are getting worse, particularly because of the violence in the territories directed against Palestinians. This cannot be separated from the violence directed at Jews who support them."


French FM: An assault on values of peace

Following the attack on Sternhell, police assigned Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer with security detail. Asked whether he also sought security on his home, the professor said Friday, "I am not interested in close-quarters protection, because if a simple citizen cannot voice his opinions, we are nearing the end of democracy.


"I regret the fact that (former Supreme Court President) Aharon Barak was assigned with a security guard. A judge should not be walking around with a bodyguard. This is a disgrace and means that we can no longer protect the democratic order."


Sternhell's wife, Ziva, said that the couple's life routine would not change. "We're not afraid," she noted. "Even in the night, after the explosion, we went back to sleep there. We're feeling okay, he is in good condition, but this entire affair is extremely serious."


The police and Shin Bet are continuing their investigation into the incident, primarily focusing on the suspicion that the perpetrators are extremist right-wing activists seeking to harm the Israel Prize recipient because of his political stance.


Meanwhile on Friday, French FM Bernard Kouchner condemned the targeting of Sternhell. "The assault on Professor Sternhell is an assault on values of peace and brotherhood that served as an inspiration to Israel's founding fathers," said Kouchner.


"France condemns this attack on a prominent member of the Peace Now movement, which has dedicated itself to an ideological struggle against violence and hatred. I want to express my deep solidarity with him and wish him a full and speedy recovery."


Throughout his academic career Sternhell has worked extensively in France. He was a research fellow and a visiting professor at the Paris Institute of Political Studies.


For his contribution to French culture he was made chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Literature) in 1991, and in 2003 he was bestowed with the rank of commander in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of the Academic Palms).


Ronen Medzini contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 09.26.08, 13:18
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