It was the height of the second intifada, just three days after the suicide attack at the Tel Aviv discotheque Dolphinarium that left 21 people dead. Ariel Sharon, who was then prime minister, paid a visit to the many wounded at the Tel Aviv Ichilov Hospital, some of them still fighting for their lives. “We are confronted with a very harsh campaign,” said Sharon. “I just want to tell you that restraint is also a sign of strength.” His remarks were seen as a sign of weakness by the political right, which he headed at the time.
The Dolphinarium bombing was one of the most brutal attacks of the second intifada. It was only natural that the images of young people standing in line to get into a beachside dance club in Tel Aviv on a summery Friday night, their violent deaths and the tragic funerals that followed would evoke a harsh response from the public. The political right immediately called for a hard-hitting response. On the day after the attack, hundreds of incensed young people went to the nearby Hassan Bek Mosque and started throwing stones. Scuffles broke out between Muslims and Jews, and the police were forced to intervene.