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RABIN DEJA VU

Cabinet Minister Sheetrit: ‘There Is A Clear And Present Danger From Jewish Fanatics; High Time To Clamp Down!’

MK Aylon: ‘Huge Knesset Demo Was Just A Warm-Up For What’s In Store; However, We Categorically Oppose Any Violence!’

MK Benizri: ‘Shas Party Rules Out National Referendum On Withdrawal’

The ultra-orthodox Shas party says although it opposes Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal plan, it will not support a national referendum on the issue. In any case, withdrawal opponents plan on stepping up their protest campaign. Meanwhile, some Likud sources say they are very worried about some of the manifestations at the Knesset demonstration; some say it recalls the time before the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and something should be done immediately.

Is Israel entering a dangerous period of civil strife, similar to the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995? Likud cabinet minister Meir Sheetrit, who drafted a law against incitement when he held the justice portfolio, is worried and he says it’s time to crack down.

Cabinet Minister Sheetrit

There are right wing fanatics who are ready to do anything to stop Prime Minister Ariel Sharon from implementing the disengagement…that’s the view of Likud Cabinet Minister Meir Sheetrit. Some of the protestors waved placards branding Sharon a ‘dictator’ and Sheetrit says it’s high time to crack down before ‘They turn words into bullets!’ The Shabak security service has warned there are right wing fanatics who are a threat to the Prime Minister but there is not enough evidence which will stand up in court. Sheetrit rejects claims that Sharon has ‘stolen’ the ballots of right-wingers who voted for him. He argues that the Prime Minister made clear that he would make painful concessions if it served Israel’s interest.

M.K Aylon

MK Benny Aylon, of the right wing National Union says the campaign is just beginning to halt ‘Sharon’s expulsion of Jews’ from their homes in Gush Katif, (Gaza) and Samaria. When the time comes, hundreds of thousands of protestors will hold sit-down strikes to prevent the evacuation. However, Aylon and other settler leaders say they are categorically opposed to the use of violence. At the same time, Aylon charges that Prime Minister Sharon is making a mockery out of Israeli democracy by ramming the withdrawal down the throats of right-wingers after riding into office on their votes.

M.K Benizri

The day after the big demo, prospects for a national referendum have dropped from slim to almost none. In order for the Knesset to pass a referendum bill, the ultra-orthodox Shas party would have to support it. But Shas MK Shlomo Benizri says Rabbi Ovadia Yosef rejects the move. The ultra-orthodox are worried that a referendum could come back ‘to haunt them’. For example, one day there might be another referendum on religious issues. At the same time, Shas is now negotiating with the Likud on possibly abstaining in the budget vote, enabling it to be passed in the House.And this footnote: Israeli sources are taking in stride that there may incidents from time to time in the Gaza Strip. They say this is only to be expected after more than four years of violence and it may take a little time for things to settle down altogether.

David Essing

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