Agence France Presse (AFP)
September 26, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israeli historian Zeev Sternhell on Friday blamed extreme right-wing Jews for a pipe bomb attack that wounded him and accused the authorities of failing to crack down on homegrown militancy. "Clearly I am not the victim of the mob settling scores. Only the extreme right could have perpetrated this crime, either an individual or a cell," the 73-year-old writer told Israeli public radio from his hospital bed.

Sternhell, an expert on European fascism and a critic of Israel's right-wing settler movement, was wounded on Thursday when a pipe bomb went off outside his house in Jerusalem.

"If we do nothing when Palestinians are attacked, when their fields are destroyed and their cars are vandalized by settlers, then it should come as no surprise when the violence reaches into Israel itself," he said.

After the attack police found fliers offering a 1.1 million shekel reward ($320,000) for the killing of members of Peace Now, an Israeli group dedicated to ending the occupation of the West Bank.

Israel's Public Security Minister Avi Dichter said the blast was a "nationalist terror attack apparently perpetrated by Jews" and aimed at killing Sternhell, not merely intimidating him.

Dichter added that the bombing "takes us back to the days of [Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin's assassination," according to Israel's Haaretz newspaper.
Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Jewish extremist at a Tel Aviv rally in 1995 two years after launching the Oslo peace process with the Palestinians.

Sternhall, who was born in Poland in 1935, fled the Nazi Holocaust. He teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializing in the emergence of fascism, and is an expert on extreme right-wing ideologies in France. In February, he was awarded the 2008 Israel Prize in political science.


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