Ynet, an Israel-based news Web site, reported that approximately 20 extremists took part in the "pulsa denura" ceremony, during which they prayed that Sharon would die within the coming 30 days.
Rooted in the Kabbalah, a system of Jewish mystic philosophy, the ceremony made headlines in Israel a decade ago, when extremist right-wing rabbis prayed for the death of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was later gunned down by an Orthdox Jew in 1995.
In an interview with the newspaper Ha'aretz on July 26, Michael Ben-Horin, one of the ceremony's organizers, said that the death curse was necessary because security around Sharon "is 10 times tighter than (was) the security around Hitler and Stalin."
The curse comes at a time of heightened tensions in Israel due to the Israeli disengagement from Gaza and northern West Bank scheduled for mid-August. Some rabbis have told their student-soldiers to refuse orders to remove Jewish settlements from Gaza, and hundreds of young religious Jews have holed up in Gaza, despite Sharon's recent decision to make it off-limits to non-residents.