1,000 mark 20th anniversary of Kahane's assassination

Ben-Gvir: We’ve gone mainstream, you can even see this in the Knesset, Kadima and even the Labor party are adopting the beliefs of Kahane.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
October 26, 2010 21:33
3 minute read.
LIBBY KAHANE, widow of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane.

Libby Kahane 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Nearly 1,000 people crowded into the event hall of the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem on Tuesday night for the memorial service marking 20 years since Rabbi Meir Kahane was assassinated on November 5, 1990.

“You can see a true awakening to Rav Kahane, because every year it’s growing, every year more and more people are joining us,” right-wing activist Baruch Marzel told The Jerusalem Post as he hurriedly tried to organize more chairs for hundreds of people standing outside.

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“There are those who thought that with each passing year it would be weaker, but that’s a lie.”

The 20-year memorial also celebrated the release of the Hebrew version of a book by Kahane’s wife, Libby Kahane, His Life and Thought.

The English version, published two years ago, marked the first time Kahane’s intensely private wife shared personal stories about the rabbi’s life behind the events and speeches.

“I wanted to give a full and true picture of Meir,” said Libby Kahane. “He understood he wouldn’t see success in everything he did, but he didn’t hold back because of that.”

The US-born Kahane was an ultra-nationalist leader who advocated “Greater Israel” – annexing the West Bank and Gaza – and paying or forcing the Arab residents to leave. He also favored a society based on Jewish law rather than a democracy.

Kahane was the founder of the Kach Party, and served in the Knesset from 1984 until his party was declared racist and barred from running in 1988.

Kach was declared a terrorist organization in 1994 when one of Kahane’s supporters, Baruch Goldstein, went on a shooting rampage at the Cave of the Patriarchs and killed 30 Muslim worshipers. Kahane was assassinated in New York in 1990 by an Egyptian-American terrorist who had ties to al- Qaida.

“We’ve gone mainstream,” event organizer and prominent right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir told the Post.

“You can even see this in the Knesset, Kadima and even the Labor Party are adopting the beliefs of Kahane. People used to be against Rav Kahane in the Knesset, treating him the same way they’re treating Hanin Zoabi, saying he was disgusting, he’s dangerous. And today they understand that all those things he said, he was right.”

The crowd chanted “The nation of Kahane lives” and “Kahane was right” and cheered wildly at videos of Kahane’s old speeches when he made statements like “Send the Arabs away!”

Ben Gvir and Marzel are set to lead a march on Wednesday in Umm el-Fahm to mark the anniversary of Kahane’s assassination. Police were initially hesitant to grant permission for the march, fearing a repeat of last year’s march on the outskirts of the city when local youth clashed with riot police. Thousands of police will secure the event and locals have said they will prevent the marchers from entering their city.

Earlier this year, the High Court ruled in favor of the right-wing activists holding a march in the city.

In the past week, a rash of “Kahane was right” graffiti has been found in Nazareth, Jaffa, and Migdal Ha’emek.

Earlier this week, police launched an investigation into similar graffiti spray-painted on a pool and college in Upper Nazareth.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.


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