Tuesday, May 03, 2005
prayers for Sharon's death.
JERUSALEM (AFP) - Right-wing extremists opposed to the government's impending withdrawal from the occupied Gaza Strip are calling for prayers for the death of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, an Israeli newspaper said.
Flyers urging Jewish faithful to pray for the premier's end have been handed out during recent anti-disengagement rallies, the liberal Haaretz daily said.
The pamphlets quote ultra-Orthodox and nationalist rabbis who have castigated Sharon for his decision to dismantle all 21 Israeli settlements in Gaza and four outposts in the West Bank.
Among those quoted was Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual mentor of Israel's ultra-Orthodox Shas party, who repeated his statement made weeks ago during a sermon that: "God should give Sharon a blow from which he will not get up".
At the time, the rabbi denied he wanted Sharon dead and said his words had been misinterpreted.
Rabbi Yosef Dayan from the Jewish settlement of Psagot, near Ramallah in the West Bank, provoked an outcry in September by saying he wanted the prime minister dead for plotting the unilateral disengagement.
Sharon has received multiple death threats over the prospective Gaza pullout, set to begin in July or August, putting Israeli police and intelligence agents on high alert and seeing the prime minister's personal security detail stepped up.