Life & Culture

Lo Od Kahane Chai

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  1. YANKEL NURIK says:

    The article is full of falsehoods. Rabbi Kahane didn’t simply call for the expulsion of non Jews rather he proposed enforcing Jewish law, under which non-Jews wishing to dwell in Israel would have three options: remain as “resident strangers” with all rights but national ones, leave Israel and receive compensation for their property, or for those who refused either option, be forcibly removed without compensation.
    Neither was he an outlier in the Orthodox community: there were numerous renowned figures that publicly supported and admired his positions;

    Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the former Chief Rabbi of Yamit, is a strong supporter of Kahane’s. Ariel and Kahane were close friends and, eventually, Ariel ran for Knesset on the second spot of the Kach party’s list.
    Irving M. Bunim, who was the major lay leader of Orthodox Jewry and trusted assistant to Rabbi Aharon Kotler, was a strong supporter and admirer of Kahane’s.
    Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach was known for declaring that the Jewish people owed a great debt to Kahane. Together, Carlebach and Kahane organized one of the first Noahide conferences in the 1980s.
    In a 1971 interview, Bob Dylan made positive comments about Kahane. In Time Magazine, Dylan stated, “He’s a really sincere guy. He’s really put it all together.” According to Kahane, Dylan did attend several meetings of the Jewish Defense League in order to find out “what we’re all about”[65] and started to have talks with the rabbi.[66] Subsequently, Dylan downplayed the extent of his contact with Kahane.
    The former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel (1983-93), Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, was Kahane’s personal mentor and one of Kahane’s staunchest supporters. Eliyahu wrote an approbation to Kahane’s Tanakh commentary, Perush Hamacabee, where he refers to Kahane as “HaRav HaGaon” (the rabbinic genius), a praiseworthy title attributed to the very saintly. Eliyahu wrote that “only the Torah way interested Kahane, which he constantly toiled over and which served as his strength,” and “when one considers the depth and clarity of [Kahane’s] works, one is astonished at how he had the time to compile such. The answer is that … all his time and thoughts were invested in Torah while other matters were secondary. Fortunate is the family that publishes his works for others to learn from.” At Kahane’s funeral, Eliyahu stated that Kahane was a reincarnation of a fearless biblical character.
    Kahane received praise from the Bostoner Rebbe, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Horowitz, who hosted the JDL International Leadership Conference at the Beth Pinchas synagogue in Boston.
    Kahane was endorsed in his bid for a Knesset seat by Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, son of the first Chief Rabbi of Israel and the spiritual leader of the Gush Emunim movement. Kook had been a staunch supporter of the National Religious Party but broke with them in 1974 when they entered the Rabin government over his opposition. In his letter of support to Kahane, Kook stated: “The presence of Rabbi Meir Kahane and his uncompromising words from the Knesset platform will undoubtedly add strength and value to the obligatory struggle on behalf of the entire Land of Israel.” The announcement of Kook’s support of Kahane and his letter were made available to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
    Yemenite Rabbi Shlomo Korach, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi and Av Beit Din of Bnei Brak stated that Kahane was “the first to shout about the kidnapped children of Yemen” and “the only one who didn’t let me down in my hopes and dreams in Israel.”
    Pastor James David Manning praised Kahane saying that he was a man who spoke the truth.
    Rabbi Yosef Mendelevitch, the famous Jewish refusenik from the former Soviet Union, stated that “Kahane was a representative for us. His activities made us feel good. His actions showed that Jews cared. His actions may have been controversial, but his role was very important. He was a symbol for Russian Jews.”
    Kahane received praise from Rabbi Mordechai Savitsky.
    While Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known to many as the Lubavitcher Rebbe, disagreed with the effectiveness of JDL methods vis-à-vis Soviet Jewry, The Rebbe saw eye to eye with Kahane on issues concerning Israel, including the issue of Arabs, relinquishing land, building settlements and the incorporation of Jewish law.After hearing of Kahane’s assassination, the Rebbe remarked that “one of the greatest Jewish leaders in history has fallen.” He later blessed Kahane’s son, Binyamin Ze’ev to be successful in fulfilling his “holy father’s” work.
    Rabbi Avraham Shapira, the former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel (1983-93) and head of Mercaz Harav, refused to publish an address denouncing Kahane when pressured to do so, saying that Kahane was an inseparable part of orthodox Judaism.He later openly backed Kahane’s State of Judea movement.
    Rabbi Moshe Tendler, son-in-law of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, praised Kahane and stated that “his whole goal was always ‘how do you make each Jew stand tall?’”
    Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, the son of Ovadia Yosef who headed the Hazon Ya’akov Yeshiva and served as rabbi of the Givat Moshe neighborhood in Jerusalem, described Kahane as one who “fulfilled his role faithfully” and declared that “we must learn from [Kahane’s] great actions in order that we learn the way of the Torah.”. While serving in the Knesset as part of the Shas party, Yosef was one of the few who remained for Kahane’s addresses.