What is called in the Middle East the "cycle of violence" reached into the United States last night when Rabbi Meir Kahane, who had just completed a speech which advocated violence, was shot dead in New York City.
In Israel, where Kahane represented only the tiniest fraction of public opinion in his advocacy of the expulsion of nearly two million Palestinian Arabs from their native lands, the government braced for the inevitable revenge attacks against Arabs by Kahane supporters -- a continuation of the cycle of violence.
As of this writing the New York authorities say they know nothing whatsoever about the background or motive of the man who killed Kahane, although the city's chief of detectives said that "everything indicates he was acting alone." Unfortunately, this lack of information did not restrain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's chief spokesman, Avi Pazner, from issuing a statement condemning "this further act of Arab terrorism." This kind of language can only fuel "the cycle of violence." In fact, within hours after Kahane's murder, two wholly innocent elderly Palestinians were shot dead on the occupied West Bank in what Israeli authorities say appears to be a revenge attack.
This is no time for unwarranted speculation which can only further enflame "the cycle of violence."