Rising political violence concerns Olmert


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he was taking the increase in "political violence" in Israel "very seriously."

In a letter to Rabbi David Saperstein, the director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism — in response to the rabbi’s October missive — Olmert wrote that he agreed with the rabbi about the "very disturbing increase in manifestations of political violence, both verbal and physical, on the part of some marginal groups in Israeli society."

"I assure you that we take this problem very seriously and that I have instructed the relevant agencies to track down those reponsible for these dangerous acts and bring them to justice," the letter said.

Olmert also reaffirmed that Israel "continues to abide" by its commitment to refrain from constructing new settlements or expanding existing ones. However, the Israeli leader said, "we will continue to build in the major settlement blocs, which will remain under Israeli sovereignty in any future agreement."

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