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A group of extreme-right activists said yesterday that they had held a ceremony to place a pulsa denura, a halakhic curse, on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in order to bring about his death.

Michael Ben-Horin, among the organizers of the ceremony, said that in view of the tight security around Sharon, which "is ten times tighter than [was] the security around Hitler and Stalin," no man would be able to kill him.

They had therefore called on the Angels of Destruction to kill Sharon, Ben-Horin said.

Twenty people reportedly took part in the ceremony, held last Thursday in the small northern town of Rosh Pina. The participants believe that Sharon will die in the coming 30 days, or else all those who took part in the ceremony would die.

Pulsa denura - or "whip of fire" in Aramaic - is a curse with origins in Kabbalistic mysticism. It first came to light in Israel when far-right rabbis pronounced the curse during the turbulent period that preceded the death of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

The ceremony, which is supposed to cause the death of the subject within a year, calls upon the angels of destruction to refrain from forgiving the subject his sins, to kill him and to call down all the curses named in the Bible.

Ben-Horin said that while Rabin was backed by an entire movement in society, Sharon is alone in advocating his disengagement plan. His death would cancel the pullout, Ben-Horin added.

The ceremony's organizers also include Rabbi Yosef Dayan from the West Bank settlement of Psagot, who was among the rabbis who had placed a pulsa denura on Rabin. After Rabin's assassination, Dayan was arrested for threatening to place a curse on Shimon Peres.

Dayan, a member of the outlawed radical Kahane Khai group and a former Knesset candidate for the group, said in September 2004 that he was ready to hold a pulsa denura ceremony for Sharon, and that he wished for his death.