Son of slain Zionist leader urges Israel to force Arabs off land Binyamin Kahane in Park Heights for talk.

February 27, 1992|By Jay Merwin | Jay Merwin,Staff Writer

The son of Rabbi Meir Kahane, the assassinated radical Zionist leader, is campaigning in this country against an Israeli government that he says is prevented by "madness and blindness" from taking the extreme measures necessary to root out Arab terrorism.

"The solution for Israel today is not to have Arabs sitting on the land of Israel," said Rabbi Kahane's son, Binyamin Kahane.

Binyamin Kahane addressed a group of 50 supporters last night in a house in Park Heights. He is in this country to ask for political contributions and to exhort American Jews to relocate to Israel.

To make room for all Jews living outside Israel, Mr. Kahane's party would expel the Arabs living in Israel. "Israel is a big state if we can throw out the Arabs and put the Jews in the towns," he said.

The mantle of leadership in this movement fell to Mr. Kahane after his father was shot to death outside a New York hotel in 1990. The Arab immigrant whom the police arrested was acquitted last December of the killing of Rabbi Kahane but convicted of lesser charges.

Mr. Kahane wants revenge. "To kill him, of course that's what should happen," he said. "I hope that good Jews are going to do it. Of course, we can't talk about it here."

He has reorganized the movement since his father's Kach party was banned by the Israeli government in 1988 as racist. Now Mr. Kahane and his followers simply cite the Torah, the Hebrew Bible, as their party platform. "It's the oldest platform that exists," he said.

And in the Torah, he points to verses in which God tells Moses that non-Jews must be driven from the land that God wants to give to the people of Israel. Some non-Jews could be allowed to stay if they agreed to accept Jewish sovereignty and a loss of the right to vote or to hold authority over any Jew, Mr. Kahane said. But he doubted that many Arabs currently living in Israel would accept such an offer.

The urgency and militancy of the Kahane movement arise partly from the persistence of terrorism against Jews in Israel and from a belief that Jews will soon be oppressed in other countries.

As his father did, Mr. Kahane urges American Jews to leave this country "before there's going to be a holocaust over here." As evidence, he cited the conflict between blacks and Jews in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, N.Y., the political rise of former Nazi David Duke and the policy of the Bush administration to pressure Israel into halting new Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.

Mr. Kahane realized that his message would be hard to get across in the United States, where Jews have flourished. "Jews still feel very comfortable here," he said.

Kahane supporters now belong to a successor group called Kahane Chai, meaning Kahane Lives. David Schwartz, a leader of the Baltimore chapter, said it has about 50 members in the area.

Mr. Schwartz, who runs a sports memorabilia business, said his goal is to settle in Israel. Though he doesn't know yet how he could find a job in Israel, Mr. Schwartz says, "my heart is there."

Mr. Kahane arrived late to his engagement because he was delayed in New York where he denied responsibility for a pipe bomb that exploded yesterday outside the Syrian mission to the United Nations. No one was injured. A second bomb was found in a telephone booth with a note: "Free Syrian Jews."

A coalition of Jewish groups condemned the attack as hurting the cause of Syrian Jews who want to emigrate. And Mr. Kahane denied involvement in the attack, but said: "We never condemn any action that good Jews do for a fellow Jew."

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