PSSSSSSST .....Originally Posted by Overload
Kach, Kahane Chai
What are Kach and Kahane Chai?
Two marginal Israeli groups that have used terrorism to pursue their goals of expanding Jewish rule across the West Bank and expelling the Palestinians. Both groups grew out of the anti-Arab teachings of Rabbi Meir Kahane, an American-born extremist who founded and led Kach (its name means â€œthusâ€ in Hebrew) until he was assassinated in New York in 1990. Israel outlawed Kach and its offshoot Kahane Chai (â€œKahane Livesâ€) in 1994, a month after a Kach supporter shot and killed 29 Muslim worshipers at a West Bank mosque. Experts say Kahanist leaders in Israel have steered clear of terrorism recently in hopes of getting Israel to lift the ban on the two groups, but Israeli authorities continue to regard Jewish extremists as a potential terrorist threat. The State Department lists Kach and Kahane Chai as foreign terrorist organizations.
What terrorist attacks have been associated with Kach and Kahane Chai?
The deadliest came in February 1994, shortly after the signing of the Oslo peace accords between Israel and the PLO, when Baruch Goldstein, a Brooklyn-born doctor and Kach supporter, opened fire with a machine gun inside the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. He killed 29 people and wounded dozens more before he was himself killed. Goldstein chose to attack at a particularly sensitive religious site; the mosque is built atop the Cave of the Patriarchs, where, according to both Jewish and Muslim traditions, the prophet Abraham and his family are buried.
Kahanists have also shot, stabbed, and thrown grenades at Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank. In cases where Kach and Kahane Chai have not themselves claimed responsibility for anti-Arab attacks, Kahane and his followers have declined to condemn such violence and have often glorified it.
The Machteretâ€”a 1980s Jewish underground terror group with links to Kachâ€”staged several attacks, including an unsuccessful May 1980 campaign to kill several Palestinian mayors, before being broken up. Israeli authorities also foiled the Machteretâ€™s plans to blow up Jerusalemâ€™s al-Aqsa Mosque, which is built atop the contested holy site known by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as the Temple Mount. Destroying the mosque, experts say, could provoke a massive Middle Eastern conflict.
How big are Kach and Kahane Chai?
Recent reports say Kach and Kahane Chai have an overlapping core membership of several dozen as well as a larger numberâ€”perhaps several hundredâ€”of less committed supporters that includes both native-born Israelis and radicalized immigrants from the United States and elsewhere.
Where do Kach and Kahane Chai operate?
In Israel and the West Bank. Two West Bank settlementsâ€”Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, and Tapuachâ€”are thought to be the cradles of Kahanist support.
Have Kach and Kahane Chai been active in the current Israeli-Palestinian violence?
We donâ€™t know. Neither group has claimed responsibility for any of the recent anti-Arab bomb plots or the more common roadside shootings of Palestinians by Israeli extremists. Nor have Israeli authorities yet proved any Kach or Kahane Chai connection to these attacks. In April 2002, Israeli police arrested a former Kach spokesman in connection with an attempt to leave an explosive-packed trailer outside a Palestinian girlsâ€™ school and hospital in East Jerusalem, but experts say the plot was arranged by individuals affiliated with another Jewish extremist group that is not affiliated with Kach or Kahane Chai.
Who was Meir Kahane?
Martin David Kahane was born in 1932 in Brooklyn, New York. As a teenager, he joined Betar, a quasi-military youth group affiliated with the Revisionist Zionist movement, which sought a Jewish state in all of British-ruled Palestine. In 1968, Kahane, who trained as a lawyer and rabbi, formed the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a militant group that promoted Jewish vigilantism and urged American Jews to arm themselves under the slogan â€œevery Jew a .22.â€ Putatively organized to combat African-American anti-Semitism, the JDL went on to target the offices and representatives of Soviet-bloc nations, the Palestine Liberation Organization, Arab states, and Jewish organizations it saw as moderate.
When did Meir Kahane form Kach?
In 1971, after he emigrated to Israel. Kach brought Kahaneâ€™s Jewish-power philosophy to the Israeli scene and endorsed the idea of using â€œterror against terror,â€ which Kahane represented by the Hebrew acronym TNT. Kahane advocated the formation of a â€œworldwide Jewish anti-terror groupâ€ that would be â€œorganized and aided in exactly the same way as the terrorists are aided by the Arab governments.â€ Kach also organized protests against the Israeli government and ran candidates for local and national office. Kach won several seats on the city council of the West Bank settlement Kiryat Arba. In 1984, Kahane was elected to the Knesset, Israelâ€™s parliament.
Is Kach still represented in the Israeli parliament?
No. In 1985, Israel amended its election laws to disqualify parties that oppose democracy and incite racism. Kach was banned from subsequent elections.
When did Meir Kahane die?
In November 1990. While speaking to followers at a New York hotel, Kahane was shot and killed. El-Sayyid Nosair, an Egyptian Islamist who has been linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing plot, was convicted on weapons charges in connection with Kahaneâ€™s killing.
How did Kahane Chai form?
Amid squabbling that arose in Kach after Kahaneâ€™s death, Kahaneâ€™s son Binyamin claimed his fatherâ€™s mantle by becoming the leader of a splinter group called Kahane Chai. In December 2000, Binyamin Kahane and his wife were killed by Palestinian gunmen in a drive-by shooting on the West Bank. (The killers seem to have been targeting settlers in general, not the Kahanes in particular; a Palestinian militant arrested in connection with the shooting said it was â€œluckâ€ that they killed Binyamin Kahane.) The differences between Kach and Kahane Chaiâ€”which revolve around personal conflicts, not ideologyâ€”have eroded since Binyamin Kahaneâ€™s death, experts say.
Was Kach or Kahane Chai involved in the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin?
Not directly. Yigal Amir, who assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, was not a member of Kach or Kahane Chai. However, the assassin interacted with many Kahanists within Israelâ€™s radical right and had contacts with a far-right Israeli group that is another offshoot of Kach. Binyamin Kahane would not condemn Rabinâ€™s murder and said that â€œa person could understand Amir.â€
Do Kach and Kahane Chai have supporters in the United States?
Yes. The State Departmentâ€™s designation of the two groups as foreign terrorist organizations makes it illegal for Americans to fund them; nonetheless, U.S. officials suspect that Kach and Kahane Chai receive money from sympathizers in the United States and Europe. In January 2001, the FBI raided the headquarters of a Brooklyn group that maintains a Kahanist Web site in search of documents linking them with Kach or Kahane Chai. Some of Meir Kahaneâ€™s former associates remain active in the United States; in December 2001, two JDL leaders in California were charged with planning bomb attacks on a mosque, a Muslim advocacy organization, and the offices of an Arab-American congressman.