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Seminary attack sparks press fears

Mourners at the Mercaz Harav seminary
Eight people were killed in the attack

Israeli commentators are concerned that Thursday's shooting at the Jewish seminary in Jerusalem could have serious consequences.

One commentator warns of the possibility of reprisals, while another suggests the attack could lead to the downfall of the current government.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Lebanese and Libyan commentators also ponder on the significance of the attack.

EITAN HABER IN ISRAEL'S YEDIOT AHARONOT

The shared life, one in the courtyard of the other, Israelis and Palestinians together, enable and will enable in the future terrorists to reach almost everywhere in the country. Care should be taken lest someone tries to take the law into his hands. Such a deed could open a bloodbath in which it is not sure that we have the upper hand.

AVI ISSACHAROFF IN ISRAEL'S HA'ARETZ

The attack brought something to a wide public in the Gaza Strip that it had been waiting for all week - revenge. The Israel Defence Forces' attacks in Gaza, which caused the death of many civilians, provided the legitimacy for yesterday's brutal attack. If Hamas was behind the attack, it will have proved that its threat of brutal revenge on Israel was no empty threat. This would presumably put it in a position of strength from which to agree to a ceasefire. It is most unlikely that Israel will see it this way.

NADAV SHRAGAI IN ISRAEL'S HA'ARETZ

The bloody terror attack on the flagship of the religious Zionism movement will only make their attitude toward Prime Minister Ehud Olmert more extreme. After the funerals, or even possibly during them, religious parliamentarians, and other bodies such as the Yesha Settlers Council and other right-wing, non-parliamentary organisations, will demand the immediate cessation of talks with the Palestinians.

AMIR RAPAPORT IN ISRAEL'S MA'ARIV

Operation 'Warm Winter' that ended this week in the Gaza Strip has led to a hot spring. The forecast for the summer could even be graver. Yesterday's series of events - the terrorist attack by means of a roadside explosion, the firing of Qassams on Sderot and finally yesterday's dreadful terrorist attack at Mercaz Harav religious seminary in Jerusalem - is not incidental. It is linked to the grave escalation of late. Only nine weeks ago the security establishment pointed out the fact that 2007 ended with 13 deaths from terrorism, the lowest number for years. 2008 has just begun and already the number is higher.

CALEV BEN-DAVID IN ISRAEL'S JERUSALEM POST

The Olmert government, which until now has been able to contain political fallout from the rocket fire on Sderot and Ashkelon, in part because of the absence of major attacks elsewhere in the country, will now find its margin of error - and survival - dramatically narrowed.

YIG'AL WALT ON ISRAEL'S YNETNEWS

Thursday's massacre in Jerusalem, regardless of who committed it, was another step that brings Palestinians closer to the abyss, as the anger it aroused brings Israel a step closer to taking the gloves off. The undercurrents may not be readily apparent, but they are there, and they are getting stronger with each passing day. Israelis are quickly approaching the 'critical mass' that would prompt an all-out response.

AMOS HAR'EL IN ISRAEL'S HA'ARETZ

Anger at the attack in Jerusalem might spur the government to take harsher measures in Gaza, especially if it turns out that Hamas was involved in the attack. Moreover, given that Mercaz Harav is the ideological bastion of the religious right, the incident might spur revenge attacks by Jews.

AMIR MIZROCH IN ISRAEL'S JERUSALEM POST

The people directly affected by the deadly terrorist attack on the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva are not just the students, their relatives and friends, but the much wider larger segment of the religious Zionist public. This segment of the population, already seething with anger, which started with the Disengagement in 2005, the Amona pullout, the government promises to America remove illegal outposts, the continued diplomatic process launched at Annapolis and its emphasis on talking about all topics, including Jerusalem, is going to be extremely unhappy about this attack. Together with the grief and sorrow, there is going to be a lot of angry talk about good and evil, about a religious war over the Holy Land.

HILMI MUSA LEBANON'S AL-SAFIR

There is a clear symbolic significance in targeting the religious school in occupied Jerusalem. This is the first religious school linking Judaism and Zionism.

ABD-AL-QADIR AL-DAHISH IN LIBYA'S AL-JAMAHIRIYAH

A Palestinian organisation without name, address or affiliation is behind the Jerusalem operation. It is an organisation called 'despair', or we could call it 'frustration', or maybe its name is 'incitement'.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.


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