Israeli President Moshe Katsav on Tuesday called on rabbis and Jewish public leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to use their influence to prevent violent outbreaks.

Katsav expressed concerns over talks of using violence to resist the evacuation of settlements.

As well, the Shin Bet internal security service’s personal protection division has raised the level of alert and security provided to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Sharon: It Pains Me That I Need To Be Protected From Jews

After repeated warnings the his life might be endangered by extreme right wing elements, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called on the Justice Ministry to take ‘energetic action to put an end to dangerous incitement’.

Addressing Shinui faction on Monday, Sharon said, ‘ it pains me that, as someone who all his life defended Jews in the wars of Israel, I now need defense against Jews, for fear someone might try to harm me.’

Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter and Minister Gideon Ezra warned that in an attempt to foil disengagement, there are elements on the right that could pose a threat to the prime minister’s safety.

Turning to Israeli Justice Minister Yosef Lapid, Sharon said ‘this is something that must be uprooted. All these conferences and rhetoric cannot be allowed.’

When asked about safety measures, Sharon joked, saying ‘there are no ceramic vests made my size’

On Sunday, Dichter said that Sharon could be in danger from right-wing extremists.

On Monday, the Yesha Rabbinical Council attacked Dichter’s statement as ‘incitement and provocation to hatred’

‘One should not be surprised if the expulsion [of Gaza’s Jews] provokes harsh responses on the ground’ the council concluded.

MK Zvi Hendel (National Union) launched Monday a fierce attack against Sharon, saying, ‘ if we don’t want him [Sharon] to cause a civil war, we must make every effort to replace him

On Monday, Kach spokesmen Noam Federman and Baruch Marzel said, ‘there are no more red lines when it comes to the actions that are justified to prevent the expulsion of Jews from their land.’

Against all criticisms, Uri Elitzur, who served as ex-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bureau chief, reiterated Monday that he would understand settlers who resisted evacuation violently, and that he believed soldiers should refuse any order to evacuate settlements.