Kach and Kahane Chai

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(Redirected from Kach)
Missing image
Kahanist graffiti seen in Hebron. The words to the top right say "Kahane Chai". The fist inside the Star of David is the party logo. Below is the acronym for "Kahane Chai" which is also the Hebrew word for strength.

Kach was a right-wing Israeli party led by Rabbi Meir Kahane. After his assassination in 1990, it split into two movements, Kach and Kahane Chai, literally Kahane lives. This article will deal with all three groups.



Meir Kahane's Kach had two main items on its political agenda. The first was the forced transfer of all Arabs from the borders of Israel, including Israeli citizens. The second was the establishment of a Jewish theocracy. It first ran in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset in 1974, only three years after Kahane's arrival to Israel. It failed to attract the minimum votes (at the time, one percent) in 1973, 1977 and 1981. It finally entered the Knesset in 1984 and Kahane was its only representative.

This caused a significant counterreaction in the Israeli public, and in 1985 Basic Law: the Knesset (basic laws are Israel's equivalent of a constitution) was altered to disallow parties which

The word Jewish in the first clause was added to make the law balanced between left- and right-wings, and was specifically targeted at another newcomer to the Knesset, the Progressive List for Peace. And indeed, before the 1988 elections, the central elections committee disqualified both parties. Both appealed to the Supreme Court, which upheld the disqualification of Kach due to racism, but reversed the disqualification of the Progressive List (it should be noted that the elections committee also disqualified Kach before 1984, but then the Supreme court reversed its decision). This ended Kach's existence as a political party.

Split of Kach

Following Kahane's assassination in 1990, the movement split into two groups with similar ideologies and somewhat overlapping membership: Kach and Kahane Chai. Kach was led by Baruch Marzel out of Hebron. Kahane Chai was led by Meir's son Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane out of Kfar Tapuach until he and his wife were murdered in a random ambush by Palestinians in 2000. Both groups were outlawed by Israel in 1994 under anti-terrorism laws following statements in support of Baruch Goldstein's (himself a Kach member) massacre of Arabs at the Cave of the Patriarchs. Many of their leaders spent time in Israeli jail under counter-terrorist acts, particularly Noam Federman, who spent more than 6 months in lockup. They still retain several hundred hard-core supporters, including support from individuals in the United States, Canada, Europe, South Africa and Australia. Presumably, most of Kach's electorate moved to other parties such as Rehavam Zeevi's Moledet movement and Geula Cohen's Tehiya Party.

Kach's Effect Today

Although the group has not been directly associated with any major crimes, they have been blamed for a variety of extremist activities and hooliganism. The United States State Department designates the group as a terrorist organization [1] (http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/fs/2003/17067.htm) and says that the group has:

  • Organized protests against the Israeli Government.
  • Organized protests against Palestinians in Hebron.

The State Department also says that the group is suspected of involvement in a number of low-level retaliatory attacks since the start of the 2nd Intifada in 2000.

In the 2003 elections, Baruch Marzel, the former leader of Kach, came close to winning a Knesset seat running on the Herut party list. Marzel was the second candidate on the list. The first candidate on the list was a secular lawyer and longtime Knesset member, Michael Kleiner. Many observers believe that if Marzel had been first on the list, he would have been elected since many religious voters who are supportive of Marzel did not vote for the list because the secularist Kleiner was listed at the top.

See also

External links

fr:Kach et Kahane Chai he:כהנא לכנסת pl:Kach i Kahane Chai


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