Israeli ministers receive Jewish threats

Israeli security services are stepping up protection of public officials after death threats against cabinet ministers by Jews opposed to a planned pullout from the occupied Gaza Strip.

    A small but vocal portion of Israelis opposes withdrawal

    Incitement and threats against officials in favour of the withdrawal have reached such heights that the daughter of slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin wrote in an open letter on Sunday that the "writing is on the wall" for another assassination.
       
    "Wake up before it is too late," Dalia Rabin wrote in the Yedioth Ahronoth daily. "If we don't do enough now to stop the deterioration we will once again witness the horrible spectacle of the murder of another prime minister." 
       
    Nobel Peace laureate Rabin was killed in 1995 by an ultranationalist Jew opposed to his peace moves with the Palestinians.
       
    Targeting families

    In the latest threat, Transport Minister Meir Sheetrit received letters saying his wife and children would be killed if he continued to support Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to evacuate settlers and troops from the Gaza Strip this year. 
       

    "Wake up before it is too late. If we don't do enough now to stop the deterioration we will once again witness the horrible spectacle of the murder of another prime minister" 

    Dalia Rabin, daughter of slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin

    "You will attend the funeral of your children. We will murder your wife and you," said an excerpt of one letter cited in a news story in Yedioth Ahronoth.

    The daily quoted a police source as saying 84 senior officials were receiving protection due to concern for their lives.
       
    Another cabinet minister, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, said he too had received threatening letters which he had given to police. 
       
    Primary target

    Most of the threats appear to be aimed at Sharon, who has been vilified by ultranationalists ever since his turnaround from being the darling of the Jewish settler movement to a leader determined to withdraw occupation forces from Gaza.
       
    Graffiti threatening him with death and doctored photographs of Sharon dressed in a Stalinist uniform with the words "The Dictator" have become increasingly common, drawing comparisons to the sort of incitement that preceded the Rabin assassination.
       
    Recounting to fellow Likud members last week threats he had received over his Gaza plan, Sharon said he once heard catcalls that his late wife, Lili, was waiting for him to join her.   
     
    "I was shocked, but what has stunned me even more was that I did not see any minister or member of parliament open their mouth on the matter," Sharon said.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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