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Judaism --> Rabbi Meir David Kahane - מאיר דוד כהנא

Meir David Kahane (Hebrew: מאיר דוד כהנא, Kahane being a variation on Cohen or priest) (August 1, 1932–November 5, 1990), Rabbi and member of the Israeli Knesset was famed first and foremost for his strong racist views and activities. Among those are the establishment of the Kach party in Israel and of the Jewish Defense League in the United States.

Early life

Kahane was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1932. He came from a family that adhered to Orthodox Judaism. Kahane was an ordained rabbi, but he did not enjoy the thought of being a communal or pulpit rabbi. He was fully conversant with the Talmud and Tanakh. He subsequently earned a law degree from New York University.

He became an admirer of Zeev Jabotinsky and Revisionist Zionism as a teenager and joined its youth wing Betar. He personally led protests against Ernest Bevin the British Foreign Secretary who was visiting New York in the 1940s. Kahane organized and launched public demonstrations in the US against the Soviet Union's policy of suppressing Zionism and curbing Jewish immigration to Israel by its Jews. He was a central activist in the "Free Soviet (Russian) Jewry" movement.

During the 1960s, Kahane joined the FBI and acted against anti-Vietnam war movements, undercover. He presented himself as Michael King, a Presbyterian journalist from South Africa.

Kahane founded the Jewish Defense League (JDL) in 1968 in response to threats of violence against Jews by the Black Panthers and members of the Black Power movement of the 1960s.

Kahane was also in contact with the Joe Colombo, head of the Colombo mafia family and stood by him on 1971 when Colombo was shot dead by the Gallo family. Kahane confirmed his connections on an interview he gave to Playboy magazine in 1972.

Kahane was a book writer, a journalist writing for the largest Anglo-Jewish weekly, Brooklyn's The Jewish Press and for a while one of its editors. He appeared often on American radio and television.





Rabbi Meir Kahane speakingIn 1971 he emigrated to Israel. He established the Kach Party. In 1980 Kahane stood unsuccessfully for election to the Knesset, after which he was sentenced to six months in prison for plotting to attack Islamic buildings on the Temple Mount. Upon his release, in 1984 Kahane stood again for election to the Knesset, and was finally successful. The Central Elections Committee banned him from being a candidate on charges of racism, but the Israeli High Court found that the Committee did not have the legal power to do so.

In 1985 the Knesset passed an amendment to Israel's Basic Law: The Knesset banned racist candidates from standing for election. The Committee applied it to Kahane, who appealed against the decision to the Israeli High Court. This time the Court found in favour of the Committee, declaring Kahane to be unsuitable for election.


Kahane was assassinated in 1990 after giving a speech at a New York City hotel, by El Sayyid Nosair from Egypt. Nosair was part of a terrorist cell involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

For a while Kach and Kahanism seemed to have disappeared, but several small fractions reemerged, one under the name of Kach and the other Kahane chai (Hebrew: כהנא חי, literally Kahane lives on). In 1994 following the massacre in the Cave of the Patriarchs, Israeli government declared both to be terrorist organizations.

Kahane's son Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane and daughter-in-law were murdered in 2000 when Palestinians opened fire on their car near the West Bank settlement of Ofra.

On 5th Tevet 5761(December 31st 2000), while he and his family were returning from Jerusalem to their home in Kfar Tapuach, Binyamin and Taliya were murdered in a shooting ambush by Arafat's henchmen, leaving their six children orphaned. This gentle scholar, who fought like a lion when necessary, embodied the Torah concept of the scholar-warrior.


Basic Judaism - Spreading Torah at the Speed of Light

Jan 1, 2008