Photo Credit: Flash90
Rabbi Meir Kahane HY"D

Friday marked the 25th anniversary of the murder of Rabbi Meir David Kahane (1932 – 1990), a one time Knesset member and the founder of the Jewish Defense League (JDL). He was also a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press and served as its editor.

Rabbi Kahane was shot to death on November 5, 1990, by El Sayyid Nosair, an Egyptian-born American citizen, in midtown Manhattan’s Marriott East Side Hotel on Lexington Avenue. His murderer was acquitted of the murder, but was later convicted in federal district court pursuant to his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Prosecutors were able to retry Nosair for the murder because the federal indictment included the assassination as part of the terrorist conspiracy. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, and eventually confessed to the crime. In a sense, this makes Rabbi Kahane the very first American victim of Al Qaeda.

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Kahane’s funeral was one of the largest in Israel’s history, with an estimated 150,000 participating. He was buried on Har HaMenuchot in Jerusalem and was eulogized by renowned Orthodox Jewish leaders such as Rabbi Moshe Tendler and the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu.

Rabbi Eliyahu spoke of how many people misunderstood Kahane’s “true value.” A scholar and a journalist, with a degree in International Law from New York University, and a Rabbinical ordination from the Mir Yeshiva in Brooklyn, Kahane began his life’s work in 1968, when he founded the JDL, spreading the idea of self-defense in the Jewish communities around New York City at a time of Black-Jewish tensions; and rallying in front of Soviet-run events in the city to protest the treatment of Russian Jews.

Kahane and his family moved to Israel in 1971, where he founded the Kach party, which called for the annexation of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and the transfer of Arabs out of Israel. He ran for the Knesset and lost in 1976 and 1980, but was elected in 1984, and his movement grew to the point where some projections showed Kahane winning eight seats in the 1988 election. The parties most threatened by Kahane were right-wing Likud and Moledet, who saw their support being siphoned off by the newcomer, and so they collaborated to ban him from running on the grounds that his platform was racist.

Kahane wrote numerous polemic books, the most famous among which is “They Must Go.” He founded a seminary in Jerusalem, the “Yeshiva of the Jewish Idea,” which continues to this day to impart traditional Jewish education combined with right-wing activism.

Kahane’s teaching continues to influence Israeli society, especially in times when Arab terrorism raises its ugly head, leading many in Israel to reconsider the idea of a transfer solution. In March 1994, the Kach party and the Kahane Chai (“Kahane Lives”) movement, founded by Kahane’s son Binyamin Zev HY”D, were officially designated terrorist organizations by Israel and the US. Kach members have condoned both Baruch Goldstein’s 1994 killing of 34 Arabs in the Cave of the Patriarchs (he was a Kach member), and the 1995 Rabin assassination.

Rabbi Binyamin Zev Kahane was murdered by Arabs in 2001, as he drove his family near his home in Judea and Samaria. Kahane’s grandson, Meir Ettinger, who is in prison under administrative detention, has already been threatened by Arab security prisoners who told him: “We killed two Kahanes, we will kill you, too.”

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33 COMMENTS

  1. I am a Gentile .To gun owners i say,” never give up your guns ,never again” when the LORD returns then and only then will you give up your gun. Jews especially should never give up their guns because for Jews the world is not a level playing field ,The JDL is needed now more than at any other time

  2. Jews in general, and Israel in particular, need more Meir Kahane's–NOW!
    The only way Jews have survived is by continuing to fight.
    The wimpy Jews who eschew armed resistance are the same types who thought they would be OK in Hitler's Germany and the rest of Europe during WWII.
    To say nothing of the swine who populate organizations like "J(for Jerk)Street"!

  3. why are 'our' people the 'easiest to get to?'….anyone who assassinates another should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. we are still fighting rabbi kahane's fight today. let us, in america, pick a president who doesn't make us guess if they have israels back and the back of all jews. we are truly the CHOSEN people, and we must CHOOSE wisely.

  4. a tragic and wicked waste of a truly honourable and virtuous man, with strength and insight through to his final days, of the achingly problematic situations which surrounds Israel and Jews today – I like to think he would have made a difference but I guess he was needed elsewhere..

  5. Yaakov Zelig Charles is an anti-Zionist, always putting down Jews who won't lick Arab boots, or sell out Israel for 30 pieces of silver. As one commenter said, "Charles sucks on too many lemons" Ignore that bitter fool, his personality is the curse he is forced to live with; that is why he strikes out at others so much.

  6. Sam Babekov Charles is cursed with a bitter spirit spews his venom trying to make others miserable. Thousands of Jews and admirers turned out for Rabbi Kahane's funeral. Few, if any, will show up for Charles'. As one commenter said, "Charles sucks on too many lemons."

  7. Rabbi Kahane was clearly ahead of the vast majority of Jewish "Leaders". He saw exactly what was to come in the future for Jews and the State of Israel. Sadly, his words were misunderstood and not paid attention too. He is missed by many and his books demand reading even today! Rest in Peace my friend!

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