When Rabbi Kahane Almost Rose To Power
Written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, HY”D
This was written by Rabbi Kahane about himself and the Kach Party when he was barred from running for the Knesset in 1988
Looking back on the events since Kach was elected to the Knesset in 1984, one is overwhelmed by the sheer hate and trampling of basic rights. One is stunned by the bile-the defamation, the lies, the twisted faces and facts. And, of course, all from people who pride themselves on their culture, fair play democratic tolerance and intellectual ability to discuss any and all issues scientifically, calmly, rationally. Their hatred was a poisonous, noxious thing. Their totalitarianism was mind-bogging.
Israel government television and radio ruled that Meir Kahane, a Knesset member whom they utterly opposed, be therefore, not permitted to have his press conferences covered. Yellow journalism and blatant, deliberate lies abounded, all within intent to smear and defame.
The Ministry of Education rules that Meir Kahane, a Knesset member, not be allowed to address students, though Arabs and Communists spoke freely in the public high schools of the state. A similar policy was announced by the universities of Israel, where pro-PLO students, and speakers came and went freely but not an elected member of the Knesset. The high schools introduced a compulsory course on “Kahanism,” which not only was filled with falsehoods, fraud and bile, but was a blatant political brainwashing course that smacked of the totalitarian systems of fascism and communism.
The armed forces, whose neutrality and non-political status must be assured in order to unify rather than drive yet another wedge in the fabric of the people, originated a campaign of hate and defamation against Meir Kahane, a Knesset member, forcing soldiers to attend lectures by leftists that dripped hatred and poi-sonous venom. The official army radio devoted an entire day to a non-stop attack on Meir Kahane, a Knesset member, including the damming of his “crime-seeking to have Jewish law obeyed in the Jewish State.
The Knesset rules were changed more in the space of a year than in the previous 36 of the State, all in order to limit, as much as possible, Meir Kahane, a Knesset member, from
exercising his right to speak and to propose legislation.
The Knesset Speaker took upon himself the right to ban any proposed bill that he considered to be “racist.” He was the one who decided what was “racist” and was responsible to no one to explain on what basis he had so decided or who gave anyone a right to decide what a democratically elected Knesset member could propose or not. It was no surprise therefore, that when I presented a bill that (Unknown to the speaker) quoted the great Jewish codifier Maimonides, words for word, he banned that, too, on the grounds of “racism.”
Knesset members walked out as Meir Kahane, a Knesset member, rose to speak, thus justifying the walkout by Arabs, Communists, and Third World States on Israeli speakers in the U.N. whom they consider to be racists because they are Zionists.
The Parliamentary right of Meir Kahane, a Knesset member, to travel freely throughout the country was limited by a Knesset vote, the first time this every happened. My right to send mail from the Knesset free of postage was stripped away-another first.
The President of Israel welcomed in his residence Communists and pro-PLO Arab MKs and refused to do the same for Meir Kahane, a Jewish Zionist Knesset member. A Prime Minster of Israel said that he does not consider Knesset member Meir Kahane to be part of the Jewish people, thus opening the doors to a host of religious Jews to offer similar exist visas to other Jews.
There was more-more “democracy.”
Blue-shirted uniformed leftist youths, members of political youth movements, faces twisted in unbelievable ugliness, mouths cursing, arms making obscene gestures even as they threw eggs, and rocks at other Jews who backed Kach, showed up in every city.
A week of incitement by Knesset members and the Israel Army station called on Jews to come to the city of Givatayim to physically prevent a legal rally of Kach. The Mayor of Givatayim had declared earlier: “Kill them while they are small.” And they came by the thousands, mostly members of the kibbutzim, the leftist communal settlements, Hundreds of buses, thousands of people. They came armed. Armed with a hatred that captured their faces, a hatred that one could touch! Worse-smell! And they came with rocks and with metal bars. They came in their humanism and their hatred of violence – to hate and to smash.
As my car drove towards the platform it was surrounded by hundreds of them, cursing, shouting, pounding on the windows, attempting to turn the car over. And then a huge rock smashed the front windshield as the crowd went wild with anticipation. It was only the frantic intervention of the police and Border Patrol that saved four Jews from being lynched by the apostles of tolerance and coexistence.
And the next day the newspaper Al Ha’mishmar organ of the Mapan Marxist Party carried a gloating article under the heading; “How sweet to see a violent Left.” And it added: “It was a sight to gladden the soul to see the leaders of Hashomer Ha’tzair and Hanoar Ha’oved [two leftist youth groups] and just ordinary citizens, upholders of law and order, angrily throwing eggs and stones and brandishing clubs.”
The question must be asked concerning this psychopathic behavior of both Israeli and American Jews: Why? What is it that so obsesses and drives the Jewish leaders in unprecedented hatred and passionate spleen? What is this hatred and rear?
For clearly that is what is at the bottom of this irrational venom. Fear. Fear of what Kach says. Fear of the ideas that threaten the very intellectual stability and faculty of Jews who have persuaded themselves that Judaism and foreign, gentilized concepts to which they, daily pay homage, are one and the same. And then along comes Kach, and cries: No, the Jewish Emperors are naked. No, there is a basic, immutable contradiction between Judaism and some of the most sacred, western values-western democracy, political equality, integration, freedom of choice. No more painful nerve could be touched; not greater intellectual torture brought tub ear. Kach is a thing more dangerous to the gentilized Jewish leaders than any Arab group, than any militant anti-Jewish one. For Kach has effectively declared war on the falsehood and fraud that are the very basis of the stability of souls of the intellectually assimilated Jewish Establish leaders. That is the deepest psychological reason why they have declared war on Kach, and why they will stop at nothing, no viciousness and low blows, to destroy it.
But there is much more fundamental, animal crudity that lies at the immediate, practical level of the decision and determination to eliminate Kach and that is the obsession and lust to cleave unto power. Power.
It is this that led to the climax of the abomination-the outrageous decision by the Knesset of Israel-endorsed by its Supreme Court-to simply ban Kach from running for election. Of course, this was due to the real fear of the Jewish Establishment in Israel of Kach’s growing strength, particularly with the youth-a whole generation of new votes-and the Sephardic Jews who constitute a majority of Israeli Jews. Private polls showed Kach with up to 10-12 seats, a thing that sent fear down the spines of the political mafia that has ruin Israel in one form or another since its inception.
The headline over the weekly poll results of the newspaper Hadashot read: “And who received 13.6% in Ramat Gan?” Followers of the weekly results could have guessed the answer from the clearly despondent tone of the headline. The answer was, of course, that Kach Movement and the newspaper began its commentary with “Kach is third in Ramat Gan too.”
It is only the latest in series of terrifying (for the Left and right) polls taken since June 24th by the leftist newspaper that decided to gauge voters preferences differently from all the others. The accepted way has always been to conduct classic polls by asking people for whom they intended to vote. Both the fact that these polls have proven badly wrong in the last three lections (1977, 1982, 1984) as well as the clear feeling that these polls that were showing the Left and Right evenly matched, simply did not coincide with the obvious temper of the people-hawkish-led the editors to poll the electorate in a different way. They decided to place each week, in a different city actual ballot boxes and have people really “vote.” For Kach, the traditional polls had always been seen as a joke, as they persisted in giving the controversial group three seats (sic), at the most, a thing that anyone who ever attended as little as two Kach’s nightly rallies (over the last four years) could easily see was ludicrous.
The Hadashot people sensed that, too, and correctly understood that people who intended to vote Kach were not prepared to admit it to some strange poll-taker. Thus, the decision to have a ballot box where people could privately give vent to their real intentions.
And so, there began the polls that can only be described as “terrifying” for the parties of both left and right. Two-and-a-half months of polls showed the Kach Movement to be the solid third largest party among the voters, and this fact made the drive to ban Kahane and Kach more hysterical than ever before.
It began back on June 24th when Hadashot published two weeks of voting in three places in Tel Aviv. This is how the paper began its commentary then: “The public’s taste what was most emphasized in the last two weeks was for Kach and Kahane. Wherever you went and with any ballot box that was placed, he competes for the fourth spot, and going up.” What stunned the leftist paper was the fact that two of the Tel Aviv areas where the ballot boxes had been placed were areas of left-liberal Israelis, The Fair Grounds and Dizengoff Center.
Despite this, Kach received 6.1% in the former (almost 5 seats) and 5.7% (seven seats) in Dizengoff Center, one of the last places one in Israel would dream of such support for Kahane. The third ballot area may have said more than any other, however. The paper had placed its box at the Yad Eliyahu area where soldiers waited to be taken to their bases. There, Kach received a stunning 19.1% of the vote, just 1.1% behind the leader, Likud!
The next week only added to the consternation as the ballot box in the central bus station Netanya gave Kach 10.8% (nearly 13 seats) and placed them third, behind Likud and Labor. The stunned paper wrote that if the Arabs attacks did not stop, “Kach and Kahane will put a division into the Knesset.” But the Kach band played on.
On July 22nd results came fromt wo cities, bat Yam and the Labor stronghold, Holon. In Bat Yam, Kach again came in third, with 10.3% of the vote and in Holon, where organized leftist have always attempted to break up Kach rallies, the party received what we believed to be an even more astounding 6.7%. Said the Hadashot writer: “The difference between the results of the poll of Hanoch Smith (a traditional pollster, who now does his polling for Labor) and that of Hadashot worries me not a little. The official Labor pollster claims that Kach will only get two seats.
Perhaps because of the summer hat as well as that of the terror of the ballot box, Hadashot set up shop the next week at the shore of the Sea of Galilee. But nothing changed – Kach this time received 8.6% and one could tell from the tone of the articles that accompanied the voting that a sense of hopelessness was setting in.
On August 5th, the results of voting in Haifa, the once Labor-Left stronghold, were announced, under the headline: “They once called her, Haifa the Red City.’ Kach was, again, in third place, with 8.8% of the vote and a summary of all the voting until then showed Kach in third place, averaging just under ten percent (9.7%) of the vote or close to twelve seats. The paper could not help a bitter comment concerning the Supreme Court that allowed Kach to run in 1984 and the 119 other Knesset members for allowing “the worm (Kahane) to multiply before their eyes.”
The next week, the “worm” had turned even more, and a helpless newspaper could only report that in the center of Beersheba, Kach had come in its usual third, this time with 1.9% or about 14 seats.
And then it was the turn of the bourgeois, stable Ramat Gan and the headline: “And who received 13.6% in Ramat Gan?” The truth is that the Ramat Gan results so astounded the newspaper that it immediately ran a “control” ballot. Without previous notice, ti set up a quick second ballot in the same central square. Nothing changed Kahane was again third.
One more week remained before the newspaper threw up its hands and discontinued the voting. In a last frantic effort to show up Kach weakness, the paper now set up its ballot box in the bastion of the leftist strength, Givatayim. Givatayim had become a symbol of militant, violent efforts to stop Kahane and Kach. In September, 1985, thousands of leftists, including members of kibbutzim bused in from all over the country had violently attempted to break up a legal Kach rally.
This was the town that Hadashot was counting upon to show that there were large parts of Israel that totally rejected Kach. And this was the town which, in the Hadashot balloting, give this “arch racist” no less than 4.2% (six seats), a result far more shocking for the Left than anything in development towns and slum neighborhoods, which are accepted as Kahane fortresses. And so, the pathetic headline in Hadashot: “GIVATAYIM ALSO ABSORED HIM.”
Hadashot now published its final, overall results: In first place, Likud with 34.4%. In second place Labor with 24.6%. And in third place, Kach, with little more than 12 seats.
And a bit of Hadashot commentary went along with the results: “Kahane lies deep in every part of the country.” He is the only one of all smaller parties who retains a stable and strong nucleus in every area of population. In 12 different ballots, over two and a half months of polling, Kahane does not drop below five percent of the voters, no matter where you put the ballot box.” Ten weeks of actual ballot “voting.”
Ten weeks showed Kach in third place, with 12 seats. That is why those who parrot “democ-racy” and who pay obeisance to it, worshipping at its armpit whenever the issue is the right of the Arabs to vote have-without a second thought-announced their intention to trample on de-mocracy and to ban a Kach Movement that had powerful support among the electorate. That is why the parties of “democracy” decided to disenfranchise over 200,000 voters. That is the reason for the sheer panic and terror that gripped the Israeli political Establishment, from Left to Right-and, most particularly, Right.
The headline in the August 23, 1988 edition of the Israeli newspaper Hadashot read: “PERES AND SHAMIR WILL WORK TOGETEHR TO BAN KAANE’S LIST.”
Nothing could more clearly and openly illustrate the joint effort by Right and Left to kill, at all costs, the phenomenon that was the Kach movement.
In all the years that preceded that headline and in the weeks to follow, the reason given would be Kahane’s “racism” and denial of “democracy.” More cynical and realistic observers, however, pointed to the main story in Hadashot that appeared the previous day.
In it, a stunned Likud was reported to have commissioned a secret poll that showed Kahane’s Kach Movement receiving up to seven seats in the upcoming election. And the Jerusalem weekly Meurav Yerusalmi (August 26) reported on a similar secret Labor Party poll that showed Kahane with eight seats. All this confirmed the stunning series of weekly ballot-box moc-voting results by Hadashot.
The results of all these polls were at such odds with the “official” polls that persisted in showing Kahane’s party gaining at most up to three or four seats, that reporters rushed to Kach rallies to ascertain what was happening there. The news media, until then, had simply boycotted Kach.
What they saw confirmed their worst fears. Not only were the crowds large, but also wildly enthusiastic, far different from the programmed and orchestrated ones that appeared at Likud and Labor rallies. Worse, from the points of view of both the hostile news media and the rival parties, it was made up of a disproportionate number of young people, including many teenagers who would vote for the first time or perhaps not yet in the 1988 election, but whose rabid and fervent shouts of KA-HA-NA! And Kahana la’shilton (“Kahane to power”) mad it clear that an entire generation of new, young voters had made Meir Kahane what Menachem Begin had been for their parents, predominantly from the majority Sephardic communities, who had brought Begin to power.
Suddenly, it began to dawn on the political parties and news media-who had joined together to ban Kahane-that all their efforts of the past four years had gone for naught.
Kach had worked tirelessly for four years, while the other parties had sat back enjoying the perks of power. Almost nightly Kach rallies had been held-two a night-in every part in Israel. There was not a town or village in which I had not appeared at least twice-places in which not one Knesset member had ever shown himself in 40 years. There was not one city in which I had not appeared eight to ten times, in city centers and poor neighborhoods.
Kach’s clear message of what to do with the aRabs, and even more, what had been done to the Sephardic Jews by the majority leftist Ashkenazi parties, had received a wildly enthusiastic reception. Now the parities faced the fruits of our efforts and their own contempt for Kach.
And so, the editorial in Israel’s largest newspaper, Yediyot Acharonot *August 24) read:
“It is amazing but true, Shamir and Peres agree on one thing: the need to remove the Kach Movement from running for the Knesset. Now there remains only to see which will take the initiative in order to make this good and correct intention an actuality.”
Israel democracy was in high hear.
Essentially, the strategy of the ban was based upon implementation of two laws that were passed by the Knesset following the unsuccessful attempt to ban Kach in the 1984 elections for Knesset. At that time, the Knesset central elections Committee had indeed voted to ban Kahane’s movement, but the High court ruled that since no law empowered the committee to do such a thing, Kach could not be barred. But already at that point, the Court all but told the Knesset that the passage of such a law would indeed find the justices of Israel prepared to affirm the ban. With hindsight, of course, it appears that a primary reason for the court’s leniency vis-à-vis Kach in 1984, stemmed from the fact that no one believed it would even receive one seat, let along evolve into a power that could hold.
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