Just a day after the arrest of alleged Jewish terrorist Ya'acov Teitel, and less than a week after the anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by a right-wing activist, Jerusalem has been plastered with posters in support of another controversial figure - the late ultra-nationalist orthodox rabbi Meir Kahane.
Kahane was an American-Israeli rabbi known for political and religious views including proposing emergency Jewish mass-aliya and advocating replacing Israel's democracy with a state based on Jewish law. He also proposed the creation of a "Greater Israel" by annexing the West Bank and Gaza, paying Arabs to leave voluntarily and forcibly removing those who would not submit.
He was the founder of the Kach party, and was an MK from 1984 until his party was declared racist and banned from the Knesset in 1988. In 1994, after one of Kahane's supporters was implicated in the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in Hebron, Kach was declared a terrorist organization and outlawed altogether.
Kahane was assassinated in New York on November 5, 1990. With the anniversary of his death approaching, signs reading,"We all know now -
Meir Kahane was right" were posted on message boards on Shatz Boulevard, a main thoroughfare where many local and inter-city buses pass. Signs were also posted in religious Jerusalem neighbourhoods.
The posters advertised an event in Kahane's memory, which will take place this Thursday with the participation of MK Michael Ben-Ari (Ichud Leumi).
"First of all, Kahane was my teacher and rabbi," said Ben-Ari, when asked by The Jerusalem Post on Monday about his reasons for participating in the event.
"He dedicated his whole life to Israel... he was a great man, and a great leader. Today, even the Left admits that we have a demographic problem."
He said that Kach being thrown out of the Knesset and later declared a terrorist organization was simply political.
"They did it in order to stop him... [but] they never once caught him doing anything wrong," said Ben-Ari.
Posters in support of Kahane are common throughout Jewish communities in the West Bank, but are not usually found in secular areas of central Jerusalem such as Shatz Boulevard. Some passers-by had clearly taken issue with the posters; on some, the picture of Kahane's face was covered by a swastika.
Ben-Ari declared staunchly that Kahane "was not a racist... he loved Israel and if that means he was a racist, he was a racist... People who call him racist are the racists."
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