Likud Supporters Attack Peres, Head of Labor Party Leader
JERUSALEM (AP) _ Election violence broke out after a two-week lull when Likud supporters tried to push past police to attack the car of Foreign Minister and Labor Party leader Shimon Peres, the Itim news agency reported.
Nine Likud supporters were arrested in Tuesday’s skirmish in the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva.
Itim also reported that unknown assailants twice fired shots at the headquarters of the Communist party, Hadash, in the Arab city of Nazareth in northern Israel.
Earlier in the campaign, protesters threw stones at Peres and his second- in-command, Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, during separate appearances in the towns of Kiryat Gat and Afula. During a rally in Beit Shemesh, a 61-year- old man dumped a cup of beer on Peres.
The violence appeared to taper off after Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, leader of the right-wing Likud Party, appealed to party activists for calm.
Dozens of Likud supporters, however, showed up Tuesday at a Peres rally in Petah Tikva and heckled the leader of the left-leaning Labor Party as he delivered a campaign speech.
Later, they rushed at Peres’ car after police formed a protective circle and tried to hustle him away from in front of city hall.
Earlier Tuesday, police and bodyguards surrounded Peres as he campaigned at the crowded central bus station in Jerusalem.
Dozens of admirers drowned out the boos of opponents with the cry ″Peres will bring peace.″
One businessman said he would vote Labor because the party promises to hand back the densely inhabited portions of the territories Israel seized from Egypt and Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war.
″Peres says he’ll give away the Gaza Strip. That’s half our demographic problem right there,″ businessman Shimon Rosen said.
During the campaign, Labor has used the euphemism ″demographic problem″ to refer to the fact that Palestinians will eventually outnumber Jews if Israel holds on to the occupied territories.
At least 1.5 million Arabs live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and 700,000 more live inside Israel. The Jewish population of Israel is about 3.5 million but is growing at a far slower rate than the Arab population.
Labor urges handing control of large parts of the occupied territories to Jordan to assure a Jewish majority inside Israel.
The 11-month uprising against Israeli rule by Palestinians in the occupied lands that has claimed the lives of at least 303 Palestinians and six Israelis. Thousands of Palestinians have been wounded and arrested.
The reported shooting in Nazareth was the latest in a series of incidents in the Arab sector primarily involving the three Arab parties - Hadash, the Progressive List for Peace, and the Arab Democratic Party.
The Arab parties and some Jewish ones are vying for the 350,000 votes in the Arab sector. In some villages, party activists have been roughed up and warned to stop their activities by members of rival groups.
Polls indicate that the race between Labor and Likud, uneasy partners in the current governing coalition, is closely contested. The election is Nov. 1.