Tamir 'deeply saddened' by mob behavior during visit to yeshiva
Education minister verbally abused, kicked and spat on by protesters angry with gov't policy in front of Mercaz Harav seminary, site of Thursday's terror attack
Roni Sofer Published: 03.10.08, 01:14 / Israel News
"The physical pain I'm feeling now is insignificant; it is the mental anguish that hurts me more," Education Minister Yuli Tamir said just hours after being attacked outside the Mercaz Harav rabbinical seminary in Jerusalem, the site of Thursday's deadly terror attack that left eight Israelis dead.
During her visit to the yeshiva on Sunday Tamir spoke to the students, some of whom told her that they felt the government was not doing enough to fight terror.
Upon leaving the seminary Tamir was verbally attacked by dozens of youths who called out "murderer," "get out of here" and "the Left is to blame for everything." She was also kicked in the back twice.
"I came to console the students and see the scene of the attack for myself. In a matter of seconds we found ourselves surrounded by dozens of rioters who kicked me and spat at me," Tamir recounted. "It reminded me of darker days."
The education minister was eventually whisked away by police officers and security guards.
"I am deeply saddened that people cannot differentiate between a condolence visit and a political one," Tamir said. Earlier the minister told Ynet that "this reminded me of the days before (former Prime Minister Yitzhak) Rabin's murder. It's unfortunate that that there is a public which cannot put limits form itself. I only came to pay my respects to the murdered, not to engage in politics."
Meanwhile it was reported that the seminary has responded negatively to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's request to pay a condolence visit of his own, but sources in the PM's Office are still hopeful.
"It is no secret that there is an ideological rift between Olmert and the yeshiva," a source in the PM's Office said, "but Olmert also said during today's cabinet meeting that no political rift can take away from the respect that he has for the Mercaz Harav yeshiva, the flagship of Religious Zionism. Despite everything, we will further examine the possibility of visiting the yeshiva and decide.
A source close to the yeshiva's directors said they were "not enthused" over the idea of hosting Olmert due to the fact that they believe he is working to divide Jerusalem and "is not fighting terror."
However, the source added that an official decision on the matter has yet to be announced.