Last night in Tel Aviv, there was another gala, media-hyped, settler-bashing, “all right-wingers are murderers,” memorial to Yitzhak Rabin. His yahrtzeit seems to go on and on for weeks. As a counter balance, we have decided to inaugurate the “Rabbi Meir Kahane Legacy Memorial Week.”
This week’s blogs will be dedicated to the cherished Rabbi’s writings and the true Jewish heritage which he stood, and died for.
Our Sages tell us that Sarah was a greater prophet than Avraham. Also, when there is a debate in Jewish law between them, the halachah is decided according to Sarah. This is demonstrated in the Torah portion we read on Shabbat. Understanding Yishmael’s corrupting influence on Yitzhak, Sarah demands that he be banished from the home. There is no place for Yishmael and Yitzhak together. The wild Arab boy must go. Indeed, a “two states for two peoples” solution to the conflict is an excellent idea, so long as Yishmael’s state is in Saudi Arabia and not in Israel.
Modern-day prophet that he was, Rabbi Kahane understood that peace would only come to the Jewish People in Israel when the Arabs lived elsewhere. Way back in 1973, he set forth his plan calling for mass Arab emigration. Naturally, he was indicted and charged with incitement under the Israel Sedition Act, but this didn’t slow down the Rabbi.
Here’s a condensed account of the episode from Part One of the powerful and fascinating biography written by his wife, an intimate and detailed portrait of a true Jewish leader that is a must addition to every Jewish library:
Must reading for everyone
[Excerpted from the book, “Rabbi Meir Kahane: His Life and Thought. Vol. One.”
Meir’s most significant talk during this period was on November 29 at the Technion, Israel’s technical university in Haifa. His presentation of the Liga’s (Jewish Defense League’s) platform drew media attention when he outlined his plan to encourage Arab emigration from Israel. Ha’aretz quoted him:
“We must find ways,” he said, “to persuade the Arabs that it would be best for them to emigrate to one of the neighboring Arab states, rather than continue to live under Israeli rule.” He explained, “As long as they are a large minority here, we will not be able to achieve peace with them.”
“This could be accomplished,” he said, “by setting up a fund to compensate them for the lands and property they would leave behind.”
In his Jewish Press article, “Facing Up to the Arab Presence,” Meir detailed the Liga’s platform: immediate annexation of all the liberated areas, which are “historically part of Eretz Yisrael, ripped away from us by conquerors who exiled us,” and the opening of a national fund “with an initial sum of IL100 million for the purpose of urging and aiding Arabs to immigrate to other lands.”
To those who wanted to be rid of the liberated areas because of the large Arab population there, he presented a history lesson:
“If any part of the Land of Israel is Jewish, it is surely that which is today known as the West Bank. It is here – under its more proper historical names of Judea and Samaria – that the Israelites of the Bible found their setting. What student of the Bible does not perk up his ears when he hears the name Hebron? It was here that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob created a Jewish people; it was here that the Judges ruled and it was here that Saul, David and the kings who followed them welded together the first Jewish commonwealth. If these lands are not Jewish, surely the new cities of Tel Aviv, Kiryat Gat, Haifa, Savion, and Netanya are not! If Jews have no claim to the former, they certainly have none to the latter.”
In another article, “What Palestinians?” Meir wrote:
“There never was and there is not now such a thing as a Palestine people or Palestine state. The Land of Israel, Eretz Yisrael, is the land of the Jewish people in all its historical boundaries.
“Despite pious hopes, there will not be any peace between Jews and Arabs so long as there remains a Jewish state of any kind, regardless of what concessions we offer.... To the Arabs, all of the land is “Palestine” and there is no difference between the soil of Hebron or the coastal villas of Herzliya and Savion.
“The present hazy and irresolute Israeli stand on both the borders of Israel and the Arab population (on both sides of the 1967 cease-fire line) only leads to corresponding confusion and doubt in the minds of the youth of Israel as to the propriety of their government’s moral and ethical stand. It increases their questioning of Israel’s right to remain in the territories liberated in 1967, the legitimacy of a Jewish state AT ALL, and of the relations between Israelis and World Jewry.
“A well-conceived and well-financed plan to persuade the Arabs (through financial aid and all other assistance) to leave the Land of Israel must be undertaken. In the end, this last point – no matter how unpleasant – is the only hope for averting a second Cyprus or Northern Ireland.”
Terming the situation a “time bomb,” Meir wrote: “We must disabuse ourselves of the illusion that the demon of Arab demography will be disposed of by getting rid of the liberated lands.... Indeed, I hasten to add, the Arabs within what is known as “the Green Line” (pre-1967 Israel) will pose a far more dangerous and explosive threat to Israel than those of Hebron and Gaza.”
“The new generation of Israeli Arabs is not more well-disposed to the Jews....The growing number of educated Israeli Arabs, those entering both secondary schools and universities, will never create a more moderate and compromising Arab but precisely the opposite. Every example of history shows that revolutionaries come not from the numb and dumb peasant and oppressed classes but specifically from the intellectual middle or upper classes, or the sons of the oppressed classes who have escaped into the new, rarified atmosphere of the university. It is the new, educated Arab generation that is infinitely more dangerous; that is unwilling to accept its status as a something-less-than-first-class citizen and will resort to ever-growing protest and revolt.
“The revolutionary left, liberals of all kinds, and anti-Semites in general, will seize upon the “plight” of the Arabs to raise an international hue and cry of world-wide protests on behalf of the Arabs. This will hurt, to an as yet unknown degree, financial support for Israel both from foreign governments as well as private supporters – including Jews.
“The best partial solution, the most humane in the long run and the safest for the Jews, is ... the urgent creation of an Emigration Fund for Peace.
“The majority of Arabs will not agree to leave Israel under any circumstances, but sizeable numbers — more than we think — will, IF THEY ARE GIVEN SUFFICIENT INCENTIVE. It is up to those who wish to save Israel from a disastrous crisis to furnish that incentive.... Integration is not always the answer.... Attempts to integrate the Arabs of Israel can be successful only at the price of a unique JEWISH state.... We need a PRIVATE body of wealthy and influential Jews to set up the machinery for an ongoing emigration fund. This fund would do more to solve the Middle East problem than all the United Nations plans yet created.”
Indeed, it was Meir’s ahavat Yisrael, love of the Jewish people, that motivated him to pursue the Arab emigration plan. He wanted to prevent a destructive religious and national war in Israel like the one then raging in Northern Ireland. In mid-December, he mailed letters both to Israeli Arabs and to Arabs of “the territories” offering them financial benefits if they would emigrate. The letters said:
“Since we respect the Arab nationalist feeling, we realize that an atmosphere of eternal tension between the Jewish majority and the Arab minority might arise such as that in Northern Ireland. In the cause of peace and brotherhood, it would be advisable to take steps to prevent this danger. It is preferable that every nation should live in its own country, and not under the jurisdiction of another nation. Therefore, we are raising an emigration fund for this purpose, which will help every Arab who is willing to leave the country. If you willing to emigrate, we ask you to notify us:
a) The number of people in your family, so that we can work out a plan of payment to each family according to its size;
b) If you are willing to sell your dwelling to a Jew, and if so, when?
c) To which country would you like to immigrate?
Meir was to be prosecuted on criminal charges for the letters sent to Arabs. He was charged with violating the Law of Sedition, which stated, “It is a criminal offence to publish material likely to promote feelings of ill will or hostility between different sections of the population.” The maximum penalty was two years imprisonment.
Meir reacted with a quarter-page ad in Ma’ariv on January 11, 1973, addressed to prime minister Golda Meir. In it, he maintained that it was absurd to accuse him of sedition or any illegal act – his words were neither offensive norinsulting. He presented logical reasons for promoting Arab emigration, and he protested the government’s official condemnation of his plan. He argued that Golda Meir herself had violated the Law of Sedition: “Regularly, you reject the annexation of the liberated areas on the grounds that ‘Israel cannot take in any more Arabs.’ What do you think the Arab citizen of Israel feels when he hears that?” Meir asked. In light of Golda Meir’s own statements, charging him with sedition was hypocrisy, he said.
That day, he held a press conference at which he announced that he would continue to send letters to Arabs. His message was broadcast on Israel TV news that evening. Coverage of the press conference in Yedioth Ahronoth began with the words “Rabbi Meir Kahane has an answer to every question” and continued:
“There is a large and growing minority here,” Kahane said, “which hates us and will in the not-distant future cause us many difficult problems. If we don’t act today,” he warned, “it will be too late.” He cited Canada and the French separatists of Quebec, Cyprus and the Turks, England and the Irish, to show the magnitude of the danger.
The newspaper article continued:
Kahane is not worried about the lack of money in the emigration fund. “The project will, in the future, be taken over by the government,” he said. But meanwhile he has a problem with the police. Two days ago, for example, he wasbrought to Jerusalem police headquarters for questioning.
“Major Levi wanted me to sign a statement saying that I refused to reply to his questions,” Kahane related. “However, the document had the words ‘conquered territories.’ I said I was ready to sign if he would change those words to ‘liberated territories.’ Major Levi refused to change the wording, so I did not sign, nor did I answer questions.
When I returned from the investigation, I gave instructions to send out more letters. The letters have nothing wrong in them. They do not offend, they do not insult, they are not illegal. But even if I have to sit in jail, I will not cease to encourage Arab emigration. It is a question of life and death for the future of the state of Israel.”
[End of condensed book excerpt.]
In upcoming days, we will present more of the Rabbi Meir Kahane Legacy. The inspiring and highly recommended biography can be found onlibe, or for readers living in Israel, Tel: 02-5811981; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org