Could the party of murdered former MK Rabbi Meir Kahane make a comeback?
Kahane served in the 11th Knesset, from 1984 to 1988 as the head of the Kach Party, which won one seat in the 1984 election. It was barred from running in the 1988 election on the grounds that it was racist, because it favored expelling Israeli Arabs.
Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir wrote a letter to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit this week, asking for him to legalize the party. In the letter, Ben-Gvir wrote that if Mandelblit did not legalize the party, he would petition the Supreme Court and begin a public campaign.
The government of then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin passed a law in 1994 outlawing Kach as a terrorist organization, following Baruch Goldstein’s massacre of 29 Arabs at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron in February of that year. Ben-Gvir said the time had come to cancel that law.
“It is clear to everyone that this was a political decision that was passed due to foreign interests and was intended to silence the government’s critics, and therefore, it was not decided for any professional considerations,” he wrote.
Ben-Gvir said it was absurd what while Kach is banned, the Joint List is permitted, even though its MKs incite against Israel and support terrorists. He said that if Kach is legalized, the party will consider running candidates in the 2019 elections for the Knesset.
Kahane is one of six MKs to have been born in the United States. He founded the Jewish Defense League in 1968 to protect Jews from antisemitism, and actively campaigned to free Soviet Jews. Kahane immigrated to Israel in 1971 and ran for Knesset unsuccessfully in three elections before he was elected in 1984. Kach’s platform called for annexing all of Judea and Samaria, and forcibly expelling all Arabs living there.
Kahane was murdered in New York City in November 1990.