No one was injured in the incident; damage done to vehicles.
By SHEERA CLAIRE FRENKELPublished: MARCH 19, 2006 16:19Advertisement
Election officials, who had just last week commented on the public's apathy in the days leading up to national elections, a group of 20 Likud activists reportedly ambushed and attacked a group of 5-6 Labor activists on Sunday at the Azur Junction in the Negev.
Labor Chairman Amir Peretz was touring the Negev at the time.
According to a Labor spokesman, the Likudniks, who had apparently laid in wait near the junction, ambushed the Labor group and attacked them with knives and baseball bats. The Laborites managed to flee in their cars, but were pelted with stones, which caused damage to the cars.
No one was injured in the incident.
The national elections saw their first violent confrontation last Saturday, when a group of Labor and Kadima activists had to be separated by police after brawling over a street corner in Tel Aviv.
Although the incident was quickly condemned by election officials, one Labor Party official added that it felt "a bit more normal" for the campaigning season.
"Maybe it means that people are starting to get more excited about the elections," said the official.
Peretz and other Labor Party candidates began a last minute election drive on Sunday and campaigned for support in the Negev.
He was in Mitzpe Ramon and Dimona, the two traditional Likud leaning towns, where residents came out in large numbers to support him.
"I used to be a Likudnik in blood but now I am voting for Peretz," said Dimona resident Natan Busmot.
"Bibi turned Dimona into a community which is hanging by the skin of its teeth, and Olmert will be even worse," Busmot exclaimed, adding, "Peretz is one of us."
The Labor leader walked among shoppers in the malls, drank coffee and played backgammon with the locals.
Peretz later met with Labor's Amram Mitzna at the Yeruham city council. "The next government will rise or fall on social issues," Peretz told supporters following the meeting.
Am Ahad did better than Labor in Yerucham during the last election and the feeling is that those voters will now move over to Labor because of their staunch support for Peretz
"My message is that the Negev is the answer to the settlers and this is where they will be absorbed," exclaimed the Labor leader.
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