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November 09, 1990 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-11-09

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NOVEMBER 9, 1990 / 21 HESHVAN 5751

The Violent Life,
Death Of Kahane

The militant rabbi's murder
in New York has stirred passions
of anger and zealotry.

Rabbi Meir Kahane, the
former Knesset member and
Jewish Defense League
founder who was
assassinated Monday night
in New York, was buried in
Jerusalem on Wednesday,
stirring passions of anger
and zealotry in death as he
did throughout his life.
Supporters of the 58-year-
old Orthodox rabbi vowed
revenge on Arabs, and
Israeli officials braced them-
selves for outbreaks of
violence, following the
shooting death of Rabbi
Kahane at the hand of a lone
gunman, identified by New
York police as El Sayyid
Nosair, an Egyptian-born
devout Muslim who worked
for New York City repairing
air conditioners.
The alleged gunman, who
reportedly shot the rabbi
twice in the head after he
had addressed about 60 sup-
porters at a midtown New
York hotel, was himself shot
in the chin by a police officer
with the U.S. Postal Service

as he fled the hotel and tried
to escape in a taxicab. The
gunman was listed in
critical but stable condition.
Even before Rabbi Kahane
was laid to rest, the killing
of two elderly Palestinians
in the West Bank on Tues-
day was attributed by Israeli
authorities to an act of
revenge. Authorities are
concerned that the rabbi's
supporters will seek to make
him a martyr.
During funeral services in
a Brooklyn synagogue on
Tuesday, attended by an
overflow crowd of up to
20,000 people, the con-
troversial rabbi was eulogiz-
ed as a man who stood up for
Jewish pride and principles.
"He was the second Moshe
Rabbeinu — Moses took the
Jews out of Egypt and
Kahane took the Jews out of
anti-Semitic countries," said
Bernard Berkowitz, 58, a
mourner at the service.
Rabbi Moshe Tendler, a
professor of Talmud and
biology at Yeshiva Univer-

While supporters spoke of his private warmth, the public Meir Kahane
displayed anger.

sity and a close friend of the
slain rabbi, delivered the
main eulogy. God "spoke to
Rabbi Kahane clearly,"
Rabbi Tendler said, but most
Jews did not listen to Rabbi
Kahane's "prophecy." Rabbi
Tendler mocked the "self-
hating Jewish assimila-
tionists" who did not heed
Rabbi Kahane's call. Some
of those leaders that Rabbi
Kahane criticized bitterly
were among the mourners in
the synagogue, including
Abraham Foxman, national
director of the Anti-
Defamation League of B'nai
B'rith, and Seymour Reich,
chairman of the Conference

of Presidents of Major
American Jewish Organiza-
Spokesmen for Jewish es-
tablishment organizations,
who came in for intense
criticism from Rabbi
Kahane, issued statements
deploring his violent death,
while distancing themselves
from his policies, most
notably his repeated call to
remove all Arabs from
Henry Siegman, executive
director of the American
Jewish Congress, said he
"deplored the wanton
murder" of the rabbi and
noted that his organization

frequently criticized Rabbi
Kahane, "precisely because
the use of force and violence
is intolerable and despicable
regardless of the political
perspectives of the parties."
Harriet Drissman of Farm-
ington Hills is Detroit area
president of the Jewish Idea,
the fund-raising arm for
Rabbi Kahane in the United
States. Mrs. Drissman first
met the rabbi in the 1960s at
a Washington, D.C., rally for
Soviet Jewry.
"I got the same sick feeling
that I remember from (the
assassination of President
John) Kennedy," Mrs.
Drissman said when she
heard about the murder of
Rabbi Kahane from her
daughter Monday evening.
"Even though he is gone, the
problems that he talked
about are still here."
Mrs. Drissman said 200-
250 Detroiters have sup-
ported Rabbi Kahane "and
there are others who did not
want their names on any
She lamented that
"everything Rabbi Kahane
said has come to pass. We
have to continue his work."
Jordan, she said is the Pales-
tinian homeland and she
wondered if Iraqi pressure in
the Middle East might lead
to the fall of King Hussein
and the creation of a Pales-
tinian-controlled state.
"That way, if there is

Continued on Page 41



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