Extremists Refuse to Condemn Attack Against Sternhell

Politicians from across the political spectrum united in condemnation of yesterday's pipe bomb attack on Israel Prize laureate and Haaretz columnist Prof. Zeev Sternhell.

Sternhell was lightly wounded in the attack and taken to Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment. Police suspect the attack was perpetrated by Jewish extremists opposed to peace talks with the Palestinians, which Sternhell vocally advocates.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, the new Kadima Party chairwoman, said the incident was "intolerable, and cannot be glossed over."

Speaking during a ceremony at her ministry in honor of next week's Rosh Hashanah holiday, Livni added: "The state of Israel is a lawful state, and moreover, it is inhabited by a society with values. It is the responsibility of the government and Israeli society to denounce such phenomena as soon as they rear their heads."

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu said the perpetrators must be found and jailed as soon as possible.

"This is a nauseating attack by despicable people who are not part of Israel's political discourse," Netanyahu told Sternhell in a telephone conversation.

MK Effi Eitam, of the rightist National Union Party, said "the attempt to hurt Prof. Sternhell is morally and legally wrong and is prohibited by the law and by Judaism. Those responsible for this vile act do not represent Jewish values or love of the land. Despite my opposition to Sternhell's controversial opinions, I am strongly against any attempts to silence people using violence."

Meretz Chairman Haim Oron rejected claims that the bombing was the work of an individual. "Don't tell us this is the work of a loner," Oron said. "These phenomena exist on the right and the system must take care of them. This thuggish, dangerous act stems from the ongoing disregard of the violence perpetrated against soldiers and anyone who does not agree with the extreme right. A line has been crossed that takes us back to dark days from the past, when people were hurt because of their opinions."

The Jewish Front, an extremist movement headed by Baruch Marzel, yesterday denied any connection to the attack. However, it added in a statement that it would not condemn the incident, as Sternhell "granted legitimacy to attacks on settlers and made them permissible targets."