Kahane, Rabbi Meir

(1932-90)
   Born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of an Orthodox rabbi, he became an ordained rabbi in the 1950s. In 1946, he joined Betar. He studied at the Mirrer Yeshiva in Brooklyn and later attended Brooklyn College and then studied law at New York University. He founded the Jewish Defense League in 1968 as a response to vicious outbreaks of anti-Semitism in New York and a perceived need to change the Jewish image. The Jewish Defense League became known for its violent methods, especially those designed to call attention to the plight of Soviet Jewry.
   Kahane moved to Israel in 1971, where he was arrested numerous times and served some months in prison in 1981 under protective detention for threatening violence against Palestinian protesters in the West Bank. He founded and led the Kach Party and was elected to the Knesset in 1984. A prolific author, Kahane advocated the necessity of retaining Israel's Jewish character as its first priority. Thus, he proposed that the Arabs should leave Israel and go to other locations in the Arab world because of the violence they have perpetrated against the Jews and because their growing numbers would threaten the Jewish nature of the Israeli state. Kahane was assassinated while on a speaking engagement in New York City in 1990.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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