Officials May Take Action Against Rabbi Who Threatened PM

Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi on Wednesday said police officials were meeting with the State Prosecution to discuss the possibility of initiating criminal proceedings against a rabbi who said he would be willing to hold a ritual calling for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's death.

On Tuesday night Rabbi Yossi Dayan, a former member of the outlawed Kach party, declared on Channel 2 that he would be prepared to carry out a ceremony putting a curse on Sharon if the Gaza disengagement plan is not called off.

The ceremony, called Pulsa Denura, was carried out before Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in 1995.

Dayan said that he would be willing to conduct the ceremony if other rabbis instructed him to do so, and added that when he was asked to perform the ceremony against Rabin, he did so.

The rabbi said that the security services and the police had questioned him about this. "We are forbidden from talking now. We cannot pray. We cannot think. We cannot feel," Dayan said. "The head of the Security Service, [Avi] Dichter says that there are people wishing that Sharon would die. I am among them. 'Can't I wish?'" he said.

Senior officials in Jerusalem on Wednesday said that preemptive arrests may be necessary in view of threats against Sharon and other top officials, Israel Radio reported.

Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra said that the types of people who made those kinds of threats were not the main danger, since they usually do not take action. Nevertheless, he confirmed that preemptive arrests would be made should the need arise.

Following Dayan's statements, police in the northern West Bank and East Jerusalem are initiating an investigation against him on suspicions of incitement to murder.

Ilan Franco, chief of the capital's police, said priority has been raised of investigations into telephone threats against Sharon and Yonatan Bassi, who is in charge of implementing the disengagement plan.

Franco also said that the police were tightening the security around the offices of the Disengagement Directorate in Jerusalem. He added that the police are also making preparations for securing the Temple Mount against extremists as the date for the implementation of the disengagement plan approaches.

"We intensified the security around the Temple Mount, security that was already in place. We certainly took into account the fact that extremist elements on both sides, not necessarily Jews, will seek to carry out an attack, in an effort to block the diplomatic process," Franco said.

Police and State Prosecutor officers are also continuing to examine the statements made and posters carried during the rightist mass rally in Jerusalem on Sunday for illegal incitement.

"We culled banners during the rally that we thought should be examined by the Prosecutor's Office. If the prosecutor sees fit to instruct us to do so, we will initiate an investigation into the matter," Franco said.