On His 28th Yahrzeit: A 1990 Interview with Rabbi Meir Kahane, ztk’l Hours Before His Murder


The interview that took place on November 5, 1990

Q: Rabbi Kahane, you have had an extraordinary life, during which you have become beloved and hated to a degree that few have seen. You are among the most controversial and well known Jews in the world and the pressures on you must be enormous. How do you continue and what do you see as your future?

A New York Daily News story on the shocking assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane, ztk’l, hy’d, that appeared in the November 6, 1990 issue.

A: I have done and will, please G-d, continue to do the things I do because the things that I say are true, are parts of the authentic Jewish Idea. The fact that so many cannot see and understand, or attack and defame and worse, is not relevant to truth or to my obligation to that truth. The rabbis tell us that the ALL Mighty appointed Moses and Aaron as leaders of the Jews on condition that they accept being pelted with stones. Things have not changed.

Q: Yet you were barred from the Knesset and also face numerous legal problems. What about them?

A: concerning the Knesset barring – an act of totalitarianism which saw an obscene silence on the part of Jewish liberals and every Jewish establishment group – we are, of course, working on running for the next Knesset within the constraints of the present law. We have studied it carefully and know what changes must be made to have me run. They were changes we did not have the time to make in 1988. This time it will be different and we will use the loophole we have found to run.

Rabbi Meir Kahane, ztk’l standing in front of the Knesset building in Jerusalem

I must add that if and when, please G-d, we do, we will amass a huge number of votes and seats since the events of the past two years have made countless Jews realize how right I was over the past 20 years. Not only will we be the third-largest party but we will challenge Labor as the second party and no nationalist government will be formed without us. And that will be the beginning of an historic change in Israel and the creation of a truly Jewish state made in the image of the G-d of Israel.

Q: and your legal problems?

A: As of this moment, I await the decision of my citizenship trial in Washington. That entire thing is a sordid example of a joint effort by the United States and Israeli governments to insure that I will not be able to enter the United States since, if I do lose my citizenship, the U.S. will never issue me a visa. Both the U.S. and Israeli governments have a vested interest in my not being able to raise money and support here, since if I achieve even substantial power in Israel, the Baker Plan and every other American attempt to pressure Israel into dangerous concessions will be rejected and U.S. Mideast policy thwarted.

Rabbi Kahane as a young student at the Brooklyn Talmudical Academy (BTA)

I have a superb attorney, Nat Lewin, one of this country’s finest constitutional lawyers, and he believes that we have a strong case in opposing a clearly outrageous political scheme. The great problem here is the judge, Aubrey Robinson, who sentenced Jonathan Pollard to life imprisonment. During my hearing he was openly hostile and sarcastic and his anti-Semitism came through clearly. Even if I lose, I will of course appeal (I have two more appeals), but so will the State Department if I win. The big question is whether Robinson will allow me to enter the U.S. pending that appeal. If not, I will have to depend on good Jews replying to the Israel-U.S. conspiracy by voluntarily sending me the large amounts of funds needed.

Q: And what about your Israeli problems?

A: Two serious criminal cases face me there, both outweighed only by the totalitarian nature of the proceedings. In the first, involving my speech at a protest rally in Jerusalem following the murder of 16 Jews on an interurban bus near Jerusalem, at which I called the Arabs a “cancer in our midst,” I am being tried under a British Mandate law that defines “sedition” in a way that any totalitarian state would envy and under which any Jew in Israel could be jailed daily for stating political views. Worse, this law bars me from proving the truth of my statement since under the law truth is not relevant.

Rabbi Kahane at a KACH party rally in Israel in the early 1970s.

For a while there was hope that the case would be thrown out since the state simply forgot to sign the indictment, and the statute of limitations had passed. But the judge in the case (a leftist who had also ruled against the Jews who purchased an Old City building from the Greek Orthodox Church some time ago) allowed the state to rule that an unsigned indictment was valid, since “one could not escape the truth through a technicality.” This, in a case in which the truth is not relevant!

The second case involved the murder of two elderly Jews in May 1989, on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem, in which I led a large crowd of Jews in a protest march to the Old City, and the police charge me with having refused to disperse (the crowd was tear-gassed and 11 Kach people, including myself, arrested). In the United States a conviction on such a charge would be a minor affair but in Israel the maximum is five years imprisonment (the same as with my first case).

At his wedding to Libby Kahane, nee Blum in the 1950s in Brooklyn

Q: I must return to a previous point since so many people raise it. The lies and defamation and attacks on you must surely wear you down. How do you cope with it?

A: I answered that previously, at least in part. But let me add a bit to that. To begin with, one rule is basic: Never responds to vicious and filthy lies that are clear attempts to defame and destroy and that are funded and planned by enemies of the Jewish people. When one responds to these things, that is exactly what the enemy wants, since it only helps to publicize the defamation. When one gets into the mud with the swine, one must emerge filthy. King David said (Psalms 69:5): “They who hate me without reason are more than the hairs of my head,” but he also taught us how to react to the haters in Psalms 39:2: “I will keep a curb on my mouth, while the wicked one is before me.”

Serving as a reservist in the Israeli army. Circa 1983

In a word, one does not bark back at barking dogs if one is a person and not a dog.

Please continue your prayers for Rivka bat Talya the 20-year old daughter of Binyamin and Talya Kahane, may G-d avenge their blood.

Anyone reading this Rabbi Meir Kahane article and is not on my personal list to receive the weekly articles written by Rabbi Kahane and would like to be, please contact me at [email protected]

To view articles written by Rabbi Meir Kahane and Rabbi Binyamin Kahane go to blog: www.barbaraginsberg-kahane.blogspot.com


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