Israel’s Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and its advertising company will pay a total of NIS 15,000 (a little more than $4,000) to the Kahane family, for blocking a broadcast calling on the public to attend Rabbi Meir Kahane’s memorial service, Kippa reports. The payment is part of a settlement agreement that was entered as a ruling by Jerusalem Magistrates Court.
In November, 2009, the Kahane family asked to purchase commercial spots inviting the public to a memorial service for Rabbi Kahane. The IBA held legal consultations on the request, and, subject to some text changes (they insisted on dropping the words “kadosh”—saint, and “manhig Israel”—the leader of Israel), agreed to air the spots, as is customary before the memorial service of many political personalities.
The spot was broadcast on the radio several times, but towards the end of the purchased run, Peace Now approached the IBA and demanded to remove the spots. Following their request, then IBA CEO Mordechai Sklar decided to stop the broadcasts immediately.
The lawsuit that was filed in Jerusalem Magistrates Court by attorney Itamar Ben Gvir argued that stopping the broadcast was “a breach of contract, and as a result of the breach the event was damaged, causing distress to the Kahane family.”
Attorney Ben Gvir also argued during court hearings that “it is inconceivable that the extreme left movement Peace Now would be managing the Broadcasting Authority, and be able to politically pressure the Authority to stop a spot that had already passed all the legal qualifications.”
Jerusalem Magistrate Judge Malka Aviv pointed out that since the IBA did not cash the Kahane family check for the spots, the family had actually enjoyed a free broadcast of their message. Nevertheless, she encouraged the two sides to reach a settlement. The compensation payments will be split: the IBA will pay NIS 10,000 and its advertising company will pay NIS 5,000.
Attorney Ben Gvir announced he was pleased with the settlement, adding that the family intends to submit a new spot for broadcast by the IBA this year, and expects it to run it, or back to court they all go.
Rabbi Kahane was assassinated in November, 1990, in the second-floor lecture hall in midtown Manhattan’s Marriott East Side Hotel. He was shot to death by El Sayyid Nosair, an Egyptian-born American citizen who was initially charged and then acquitted of the murder. Nosair was later convicted of the murder in United States district court, while being tried for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Prosecutors were able to retry Nosair for the Rabbi Kahane murder because the federal indictment includes the killing as part of the terrorist conspiracy. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, and later made a confession to federal agents.
Rabbi Kahane was buried on Har HaMenuchot in Jerusalem. His funeral was one of the largest in Israel’s history, with an estimated crowd of 150,000.