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What Would Rabbi Kahane Say Now?

In 1985, he described programs of "secular Zionist gentilization" designed by the Ministry of Education.
Rabbi Meir Kahane as a young man.

Rabbi Meir Kahane as a young man.

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“I live in this country because it is an obligation ordered by G_d. Otherwise, why would I want to live in a country which, from my point of view, is miserable and uninteresting? If G_d hadn’t ordered us to live in this country, I really wouldn’t want to have anything to do with it. Because this country is an absolute disaster, from a geographical as well as a material viewpoint.”

(On material considerations, the Pele Yoetz stated about aliya, “Even if this mitzvah is greater than the mitzvah of lulav and similar Biblical commandments, nonetheless, one who cannot afford [to make aliyah] is not obligated, and he does not have to beg door to door in order to fulfill this mitzvah.” Rabbi Shlomo Kluger likewise wrote, “Even those who hold that we force people to make aliyah, and that it is a mitzvah, agree that this applies only to one who has enough [money] on which to live during the trip, and to someone who will not need to rely on others once he arrives. However, a pauper who does not have the means with which to pay for the trip and sustain himself once there certainly has no obligation to make aliyah…” These sources and additional related ones appear in Rise from the Dust: Eretz Yisrael in Halachah and Hashkafah by Tzvi Glatt Hy”d.)

Along with the horrors that followed Oslo and Gush Katif’s destruction, there has been another major change since Rabbi Kahane’s murder in 1990 that might have affected the degree to which he advocated aliya. I refer not to external threats like Iranian nuclear development but an internal threat: the attack on people’s God-given right of self-defense through the disarmament of citizens that went into high gear after Yitzhak’s Rabin’s assassination in 1995.

A Reuters article soon after the assassination that foreshadowed this change began, “Hundreds of thousands of Israelis are allowed, even encouraged, to arm themselves against Arab attacks.” In stark contrast, an ominously titled report from last month quoted Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch as saying, “Over the past decade the number of weapons permits has been reduced from 300,000 to 160,000, and now we are working to reduce the number of people holding weapons permits by 10,000 per year.”

I wonder if that reduction extends to the “public security” minister’s own protection entourage?

As a gun store owner in Jerusalem said in December, “In Israel it is not a right to bear arms, but a privilege.” A friend from Be’er Sheva likewise comments, “I have looked into owning a handgun in Israel. It’s pretty much impossible.”

Call me warped from having grown up in a diasporic land that relatively honors the right to bear arms, but this situation brings to mind what the American jurist St. George Tucker observed in 1803 about the Second Amendment to the Constitution:

“This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty…The right of self defence is the first law of nature…Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.”

It doesn’t seem most Israelis share this conviction. David Hazony was likely accurate when he wrote in April that “Israelis do not believe they have a ‘right’ to bear arms. Israel has no Second Amendment, nor would it ever dream of introducing one.”

Consequently, there has been no large-scale outrage over the growing repression of firearms ownership, including weapons seizures that in at least one case might have resulted in the murder of four citizens. A friend of those victims said, “There are four bodies today because the government, instead of fighting terrorism, is fighting citizens.”

Rabbi Kahane wrote in 1976, “The government of Israel is the greatest danger to the State of Israel that exists today.” How timely and how sickening are these words.

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About the Author: Menachem Ben-Mordechai has written for numerous publications on subjects ranging from Israel and Latin America to the sport of powerlifting and life insurance. He has also coached elite powerlifters as well as beginners. Menachem's other writing can be found under the name Myles Kantor.


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15 Responses to “What Would Rabbi Kahane Say Now?”

  1. Tim Upham says:

    Rabbi Kahane is not with us anymore, let us just keep it that way.

  2. הודיה גוטליב says:

    Anyone who studied Rabbi Kahane's teachings knows that even though he was upset with the government of Israel, he felt very strongly that virtually every Jew needed to live in Israel as a halachic obligation.

  3. Roy Neal Grissom says:

    Excellent article! May HaShem avenge Rabbi Kahana's blood!

  4. Lloyd Bergner says:

    Rav Kahane had enough foresight to urge The Knesset to make Eretz Yisrael a Jewish State…but it fell on deaf ears at the time.

  5. As a Gentile lover of Israel and of the Jewish people, I have deepened my understanding of the modern Jewish heart, in part, by reading this article today, as well as by other writings and conversing with my many friends who are Jewish. However, my yearning to bring my wife and sons with me and make aliya to HaEretz has not diminished one iota since 1971. To make aliya, not to 'the un-Jewing of Israel', but to the enhancement thereof. To witness HaShem progressively bless His Heritage, as the Arrival of HaMoshiach becomes ever-so eminent. As America, the country of my birth, upbringing and life, rapidly heads toward its permanent sunset on the horizon of history, I want to spend the rest of my life in the Country where His "eyes are ever upon it!" I want to fulfill the Biblical prophecies of Isaiah and Micah, et al: "many Goyim shall flow into Yerushalaim"!!!

  6. Brian Kent says:

    Excellent article.Brilliant.

  7. Tim Upham says:

    You are must be talking about Rabbi Kahane.

  8. Ron Kall says:

    It has always been that Israel needed people like Rabbi Kahane, who put Jews first and world opinion and arab outrages and complaints second. Since so many leftist/liberal Jewish Israelis and Jews in general can't even stand a party 'Kach" the stands for Jews first to even exist in Israel, we have a surrounded and tennuous state of Israel today that is closer than ever to annihilation! Every Jewish Israeli should carry a weapon.

  9. Cody Flecker says:

    As a follower of Rabbi Kahane and the Jewish Defense League I have always believed that if Jews do not defend Israel in more ways than the giving of money, Israel will wither and die. For those Jews who really wish they were Nazis, don't worry, your day is coming. If we don't punish you, Hashem will. For the righteous Christians who love Israel and the Jewish People, there will be a special place in Heaven when your time is up here on earth.

  10. Rabbi Kahane lives because the Torah truth he imparted lives In many …ODE KAHANE CHAI!!!

  11. Kahane was my Rebbe; still is. We – especially Jews – need him now more than ever. Have twelve hours passed already?

  12. Brian Kent says:

    Let us not forget that Rabbi Kahane in addition to being a pulpit rabbi, activist, writer, yeshiva teacher and knesset member was a columnist and executive at the Jewish Press.Kudos!

  13. Brian Kent says:

    I am talking about you.I have posted many comments and this is the first time I have resorted to name calling.

  14. Tim Upham says:

    It is a disgusting disgrace that you belong to the Orthodox Union. I would not renew my membership, but I am not that petty.

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