Public Security Minister Says He Fears Another Political Murder

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch political assassin could come from any part of the political spectrum.

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said on Wednesday that he worries that another political murder might take place, 16 years after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by an extreme right-wing activist.

"The fear exists," Aharonovitch told the Knesset. "Before Rabin's murder nobody talked about it either and they thought it couldn't happen, but it happened, so we're concerned."

In response to MKs' questions about the spate of hate crimes and threats against Arabs, leftists and peace activists, Aharonovitch said a political assassin could come from any part of the political spectrum.

MK Isaac Herzog (Labor ) asked the minister if in view of the threats against Peace Now and one of its activists, Hagit Ofran, there was a danger of a political murder.

Aharonovitch said the police have set up a special task force and allocated staff and resources to deal with hate crimes.

"As for the possibility of another political murder - the fear exists. It's my job to be concerned," he said. "The police and the Shin Bet security service must be vigilant and conduct all operations. We're dealing with a threat that comes from the entire political spectrum."

Recently, death threats were sprayed on the apartment building where Ofran lives, and Peace Now offices in Jerusalem were vandalized in suspected "price tag" attacks.

Price tag is how rightist extremists call attacks against Palestinians, peace activists or security forces in response to what they see as acts against the settlements or illegal outposts in the West Bank.

"The police are conducting a vigorous investigation and have arrested a suspect who is still in custody," Aharonovitch told the MKs. "The case is still being investigated. The investigations branch is doing all it can to prevent such acts and to investigate fully what happened."

MK Masud Ganaim (United Arab List-Ta'al ) asked what the police have done about the torched mosque in the village of Tuba Zangaria in the Galilee. He also urged the authorities to deal with rabbis who have issued racist edicts.

Aharonovitch said the investigation was complicated. "The police know the general direction and must now obtain the evidence and bring the culprits to trial," he said.