Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

Meir Kahane

This individual is not a direct affiliate of the Berkley Center.

Meir Kahane was a controversial rabbi and Zionist politician who founded the Jewish Defense League. He was involved with the Revisionist Zionist movement as a teenager through the youth movement, Betar. Kahane received a degree in international law from New York University and served as both rabbi and teacher until the mid-1960s. In 1968, Kahane founded the Jewish Defense League that worked to defend the Jewish community in Brooklyn and protest the treatment of Jews under the Soviet Russia. Kahane moved to Israel in 1971, where he founded the Kach political party, which called for the forcible removal of Palestinians from Israel. Kahane was jailed several times for using violence and was the first Jew in Israel ever accused of sedition. His movement continued to gain support until he was assassinated in New York City in 1990. Although Kahane’s organization was declared a terrorist movement by Israel and the United States, his ideology continues to influence modern Jewish politics.
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