Latest Update: 10:55 , 09.25.08
Left Under Attack?
Jerusalem: Professor Ze'ev Sternhell lightly wounded by pipe bomb
Police believe motive behind attack on renowned political scientist was
'ideological;' Peace Now condemn law enforcement authorities' lenient hand
with settler groups, warn extreme Right 'a threat to democracy'
Prominent Israeli historian Professor Ze'ev Sternhell was lightly wounded
in the early hours of the morning on Thursday after a pipe bomb went off
outside his front door on Shai Agnon St. in Jerusalem. The explosion
occurred as Sternhell was locking the outer gate of his home at around 1:00
am, he sustained minor injuries to his legs and was evacuated to the Shaare
Zedek Hospital for treatment. Police were alerted to the scene.
The 73-year-old Sternhell is a professor of political science at the Hebrew
University in Jerusalem.
For some time Sternhell had been receiving threats over the telephone that
were reported as being ideologically motivated. Police forensic teams are
searching the area around the professor's home for evidence, believing the
bombing to be tied to the threats. No suspects have been arrested thus far.
Professor Sternhell received the Israel Prize this year, in recognition of
his work in the field of political science. "I criticize that which needs
to be criticized, to tell the truth even when it is unpleasant. That to me
is the definition of what a good researcher is," he said at the awards
Police worried Peace Now a target
Fliers were found in the streets near Sternhell's home promising a reward
of 1.1 million shekels to anyone who kills a member of Peace Now. 'The time
has come for a halachic state in Judea and Samaria! The time has come for
the Kingdom of Judea!' called the fliers.
Police have assigned Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer with
security detail following the attack on Professor Ze'ev Sternhell.
"The extremist Right poses an existential danger to Israeli democracy,"
Oppenheimer said early Thursday morning following the attack.
"Law enforcement authorities must abandon their lenient policy when it
comes to law-breakers from within the settler community and their supports
before we see another politically-motivated murder in Israel," said
Oppenheimer. "He who doesn't enforce the law on violent settlers in the
territories will find himself with a Jewish terror organization in the
heart of Israel."
'We won't allow this'
Defense Minister Ehud Barak addressed the attack at Thursday's Labor
meeting. "We are returning to the sinister phenomenon of using bombs
against people, in this case against a very capable man who has never been
afraid to voice his opinion, because his position, which is the peace
camp's position, is that of a liberal voice, a democratic voice, a sane
voice amidst the incitement," he said.
"We will not allow anyone, from any dank corner of Israeli society, to
persecute anyone else," said Barak.
Meretz chairman, MK Haim Oron, wished Sternhell a speedy recovery and
added: "This thuggish, dangerous act is the result of closing our eyes to
the violence against soldiers, police officers and all those who disagree
with the thugs of the extremist Right."
Oron called on Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter to spare no effort in
hunting down the perpetrators. "Don't talk to us about fringe groups, this
is a growing phenomenon in the Right and the state must take care of it,"
"The attempt to hurt Professor Sternhell is the result of the lenient
attitude and weakness of the law enforcement agencies towards the extremist
Right," charged MK Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) following the attack.
The National Jewish Front organization declined to criticize the attack.
"We're not connected to the incident and do not operate that way, but
having said that, we will not condemn it. Sternhell legitimized attacks
against settlers," the group said.
MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) said the persons behind the attack were
dangerous criminals that should be tried for their actions, but also added:
"This attempt to take advantage of difficult events to polarize the public
is extremely dangerous. Those who automatically blame the extreme Right are
stirring up discord."