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The pipe bomb attack on a professor critical of the settler movement is a threat to democracy, Ehud Olmert said.

“An evil wind of extremism, of hatred, of malice, of violence, of running amok, of breaking the law, of contempt for the institutions of the state is blowing through certain sections of the Israeli public and threatens Israeli democracy, the ability of those entrusted by the State of Israel to make decisions and the ability to freely express one’s views without fear of being attacked by wild, violent law-breakers, who disregard all frameworks of proper, democratic life,” Olmert said at the opening of the Cabinet meeting Sunday.

Olmert compared the Sept. 25 attack on Ze’ev Sternhell, an Israel Prize-winning professor, to the 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the 1983 murder of Peace Now activist Emil Greenzweig. He said he had directed his security agencies to investigate and bring the case to justice quickly.

The investigation will likely focus on right-wing extremists since pamphlets offering a reward for the murder of activists associated with the left-wing Peace Now organization were found near Sternhell’s home and because of threatening, though undated, messages posted on a right-wing Internet forum, according to Ynet.

Religious officials and fellow professors visited Sternhell on Sunday.

“it’s very important that the government and the Knesset delve deep into this issue,” Sternhell was reported as saying. “They should not dismiss it silently. Rather than kill individual mosquitoes, we need to dry up the entire swamp.”

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