On Kahane anniversary, Ben-Ari remembers his rabbi

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
November 5, 2010 03:53

In interview with the 'Post', National Union MK says Lieberman no disciple of Kahane, Obama a "hostile enemy of Israel and the Jewish people."

3 minute read.



MK Michael Ben Ari

Michael Ben Ari 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman understands some of former MK Meir Kahane’s concerns, but he is emphatically not the successor of the right-wing firebrand who was murdered 20 years ago Friday, National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari told The Jerusalem Post in an interview marking the anniversary.

Ben-Ari last year became the first outspoken follower of Kahane to get elected since the Kach Party was banned, as racist, from running for reelection in 1988. He blasted Lieberman for sharing some of the views of opposition leader Tzipi Livni on the need to divide Israel due to a demographic threat.

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“Lieberman understands the problem [with Israeli Arabs] and the electoral asset of [Kahane’s] viewpoint,” Ben-Ari said. “Polls showed Kach winning at least six seats in 1988 when it was not allowed to run. But Lieberman’s solutions are not far from Livni’s on the demographic issue. He is not a follower of the rabbi. He talks about exchanging territory. Kahane wouldn’t even say what [National Union MK Arye] Eldad does – that Jordan is Palestine. All of Jordan is part of the Land of Israel.”

Kahane was shot dead in New York by El-Sayyid Nosair. He gained fame for encouraging Jews to defend themselves from New York street thugs, for being one of the leaders of the effort to free Soviet Jewry, and then for pushing for the expulsion of Arabs from Israel in his four tumultuous years in the Knesset from 1984 to 1988.

Ben-Ari, 47, a former yeshiva teacher with a PhD in Land of Israel Studies, caused a stir two weeks ago when he wrote United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, urging him to form a probe to investigate the actions of the American military in Iraq that the WikiLeaks website alleged were war crimes.

Ben-Ari said Kahane should be remembered as a different kind of leader, one who, unlike those who saw Israel as a shelter, believed Israel existed to spread the message that God rules the world and that Jews must reiterate that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people.

“This impacts everything we do,” Ben-Ari said. “For example, the letter to the UN secretary-general.

Some say, how can we fight the US when it’s so big? Kahane said God is great and America is nothing. I don’t mean to mock or harm the US, but we aren’t the slave of any empire.”

Ben-Ari recalled Kahane’s emphasis on Jewish brotherhood, noting that he had grown up with Holocaust consciousness and spoken about “never again.” He said Kahane had made a point of wearing a kippa in places that others wouldn’t in Brooklyn and had not been afraid to take on the USSR – “again, little old him against a supposedly mighty empire.”

Ben-Ari said he had wanted to make a point of attending the memorial ceremony for Yitzhak Rabin at the Knesset in order to send a message that even though Kahane obviously would have opposed everything Rabin did, he did not support killing Jews. But Ben-Ari missed the ceremony because his daughter was born the day before.

The MK called US President Barack Obama “a hostile enemy of Israel and the Jewish people” and said that if due to Obama’s pressure, Netanyahu renewed the freeze in Judea and Samaria, his party would protest and put pressure on Lieberman and Habayit Hayehudi to leave the coalition.

Regarding Iran, Ben-Ari said he believed Israel should ignore the Iranian threat, because it was the world’s problem, and stop talking about it so much.

“If we pay attention to the barking dog, it will bark more, but if the world realizes it’s not for us, maybe they will finally take action against Iran,” he said.


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