Still raw from the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin six months ago, Israeli leaders reacted sharply Wednesday after a Labor Party campaign worker was shot by an employee of the opposition Likud Party.
The head of the Central Elections Committee, who oversees campaign conduct, appealed to Israelis to refrain from political violence in the wake of the seemingly minor shooting in the coastal town of Herzliya.
Labor and Likud leaders quickly condemned the incident.
“That it is still possible in Israel to use a gun to obtain political objectives is very serious,” said Shimon Sheves, a former aide to Rabin and one of the leaders of Labor’s campaign.
Likud spokesmen quickly tried to distance themselves from the attack, saying the suspected gunman, who is under arrest, is not a party regular.
Nonetheless, Likud leaders said they fear the shooting, coming two weeks before the national election, could harm them at the polls. Labor’s Shimon Peres currently leads Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud by about five points.