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“The Arabs are a cancer in our midst. And you don’t coexist with a cancer. A cancer you either cut out, and throw out, or you die.”- (Rabbi Meir Kahane, on 60 Minutes)

“A chacham is superior to a prophet.”- (Talmud: Bava Batra 12a)

Twenty-four years ago, El Sayyid Nosair (yemach shmo v’zichro) shot Rabbi Meir David Kahane (HY’D) in a Manhattan hotel, following the Rabbi’s lecture to an American audience about the need for emergency aliyah. I remember that terrible evening with the clarity that only real nightmares attain. I was in eighth grade, and I was watching WWOR’s 10 o’clock news segment on Channel 9. The news anchor, Rolland Smith, opened the broadcast with the mind-numbing news that Rabbi Kahane was shot by an Arab, and that he was clinging to life. A short time later, we received the grim news: Rabbi Kahane was dead.

Disbelief. Utter shock. I knew that someone special was stolen from the Jewish people. As early as second-grade, I started reading Rabbi Kahane’s articles in The Jewish Press every Friday night. It was a Shabbos routine. While I’m sure I missed many of the finer points of the articles, young as I was, I could discern that there was something unique about the man. His writing was sharp, witty, cutting like a scalpel. Certainly, I had seen the Rabbi’s many “confrontations” on television, and there was a definite face to this remarkable man who behaved in a manner so unlike most contemporary Jews. He was fearless, and you instantly recognized that here was a Jew who truly didn’t give a damn “what the goyim thought.” No apologies; Dignity and self-respect.

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These memories remained with me, and in my late teens I studied Rabbi Kahane’s other written works. The first book that I read was “Never Again.” It changed me forever. In time, I became connected with those who were fortunate to know Rabbi Kahane personally, and had assisted him in his life’s work to save Am Yisroel,“To save them from themselves,” as he so often noted.

Justice Denied Tragically, in one of the most grotesque displays of legal injustice and anti-semitism in American history, Rabbi Kahane’s killer was acquitted of the murder charges. It helped that Nosair had the talented but grotesque, self-hating, PLO-supporting “Jew” William Kunstler as his lawyer. As far as the American government was concerned, they naively assumed that Rabbi Kahane’s assassination was an isolated incident and chose to ignore it. Certainly, the murder of a man who was an unmovable obstacle in their path, who constantly fought American pressure on Israel with tooth and nail, was of no concern to them. They were glad to be rid of him. Yet ultimately they paid a steep price for their inaction,  American blood.

The failure of the American government to investigate the terror network responsible for Rabbi Kahane’s murder allowed these same terrorists to slip through the cracks and strengthen their roots in the U.S. Today, Nosair is sentenced to life imprisonment in America, not for his murder of Rabbi Kahane, but for his role in the first World Trade Center bombing, which could have been averted had the U.S. government been paying attention. And by extension, is it too much to speculate that the horror of 9/11 could possibly have also been prevented, had the U.S. government connected the dots in those early years? The clues were all there.

What Can One Say? Every year on the anniversary of Rabbi Kahane’s assassination, I am inundated with feelings of profound loss, a desire to want to articulate these feelings, and an inability to do so. Much of my frustration stems from the disappointment that I was never fortunate to meet the man in person, though his teachings resonate throughout my core. Another impediment is the general inability (of this author at least) to truly capture Rabbi Kahane’s essence in an article. What can one say about the kind of man who will surely not arise again in our lifetime, until the Messiah arrives?

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15 COMMENTS

  1. My own return to observance and zionism was largely inspired by the life and writings of this great Rav. Thank you for writing this wonderful tribute and thank you to the Jewish Press for publishing.

  2. I met Rabbi Meyer Kahane in Jerusalem and felt his energy and dynamic personality. He would have set Israel on a righteous and solid foundation to deal with murderous Islam whereas Bibi doesn't know what to do except to give in to them in shame in the eyes of the world.

  3. [Surak] Thank you, Mr. Fuchs. I'm one of those people who acknowledge in the closet "R. Kahane was right." Now what? The people are so delusional that it's hard for them to detect wisdom until they are personally hurt (and not always then). Otzma performed so poorly in the last election they didn't elect a single member to the Knesset. Perhaps Moshe Feiglin will succeed where others have failed; I don't know.

    R. Kahane was virtually alone in promoting a holistic Judaism that includes the critical ingredient of nationalism, a trait that is accepted in all other peoples of the world but is somehow controversial with respect to Jews. I enthusiastically share your rejection for G. Meir's inane hand-wringing comment about peace.

    Still, you must admit that as much as R. Kahane was factually correct about issues of our survival, he also scared off many Jews. His legacy is one part of what is needed to heal the Jewish nation, but the other part comes from the other great rabbinical leader of the 20th century, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. His warmth and ahavath Yisrael provided and still provide encouragement for our timid brethren to reconnect with our heritage. I am still looking for that leader who synthesizes the warmth, righteousness, and outreach of the Lubavitcher Rebbe with the passion and national dedication of R. Kahane. Chesed and g'vurah both giving rise to tifereth.

  4. Same for me and Rabbi Kahane instilled in me Jewish pride and the knowledge of the greatness that we lost in during exile. I used to religiously read Rabbi Kahane's articles in the Jewish Press every chance i had.
    Since my parents came from Iraq, I learned what Arabs were from them and the danger they pose to us. Rabbi Kahane IS right about the Arab cancer in Eretz Yisrael.

  5. As a great admirer of R' Kahane HY"D, i especially appreciated this quote: "In Eretz Yisroel, the Arabs were truly terrified of him. Like an enraged Shimshon Hagibor, the Arabs feared him, because much like Samson, his strength was an anomaly that they could not understand. It derived from the very personality of this magnificent tzadik. He had their number."
    Amen

  6. The Jews one encounters in the TaNa"KH are not trembling, sniveling cowards begging the world to love them. And they weren't hyper-liberals who thought their great mission was to destroy the idea that there is such a thing as Objective Religious Truth and a One True G-d. The Jews of the TaNa"KH were rustic Theocratic warrior-shepherds who kicked tachat and took shemot. Even back when I was a Xian I admired Rabbi Kahana' (zt"l; Hy"d) and thought he was a gilgul of Yehoshu`a Bin Nun. And when reading the TaNa"KH, what picture forms in one's mind? Rabbi Kahana'–or (lehavdil!) Abe Foxman???

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