Professor Zeev Sternhell
Professor Zeev Sternhell Israel news photo: Flash 90

Professor Ze'ev Sternhell, long known for his sharp criticism – bordering on incitement, many on the right say – against residents of Judea and Samaria and right-wing politicians, is as it again.

On Wednesday, Sternhell said that he was “frightened by the gang” of Economics Minister Naftali Bennett and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (both of Jewish Home).

Sternhell made the comment in what appeared to be a leading question by a reporter from the radical-left Haaretz newspaper, who asked “is there something that frightens you in the political system?” In response, he named “the gang” of Bennett and Ariel.

“They are the most dangerous people,” he said. “[Foreign Minister Avigdor] Liberman is a little less frightening, because he does not have the religious fervor the other two have.”

Bennett and Ariel, he said, “along with the right wing of the Likud are truly dangerous people because they do not understand what democracy is. They do not understand what human rights are. They truly hate the Arabs, and there is no way for them to coexist with them. They have things in common with Marie Le Pen,” the right-wing French leader accused of racism, xenophobia, and fascism. “In some ways Le Pen is to the left of them.

“If Prime Minister Netanyahu really wants to get into the history books, he must disband this coalition and the Likud and build a new centrist government based on support from the left. And he should not be ashamed to garner Arab MKs to support this coalition,” he added.

Sternhell won the Israel Prize in 2008, despite numerous lawsuits against him for incitement. In 2001, Sternhell advised Arab  terrorists to target Jewish communities outside the "Green Line," and in a 1988 article he advocated that the IDF "storm Ofra with tanks.” He was eventually awarded the prize.