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Knesset Ignores Kahane; MK's Memorial Speech Pulled

The Knesset has pulled a speech by MK Ben-Ari in honor of slain former MK Rabbi Meir Kahane. A hearing was postponed due to low attendance.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 11/9/2009, 6:31 PM / Last Update: 11/9/2009, 7:06 PM

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The Knesset postponed a hearing over a planned memorial for former MK Rabbi Meir Kahane on Monday, shortly after a speech in Kahane's memory was cancelled. The move led MK Michael Ben-Ari (Ichud Leumi) to accuse the body of “dealing a blow to democracy.”

Ben-Ari had planned to speak Monday in memory of Kahane, who was assassinated 19 years ago while visiting the United States. However, after the 10-minute speech was approved and scheduled for Monday afternoon, it was pulled when a journalist began questioning Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin about the matter.

Ben-Ari was then informed that he would not be allowed to mark Rabbi Kahane's passing in the Knesset, despite the fact that Kahane was a former MK whose picture still hangs in the Knesset building.

Seeking to fight the ruling, Ben-Ari brought the matter up with the Knesset House Committee, which agreed to debate the issue on Monday. However, when the time to debate arrived, the meeting was postponed by a week due to low attendance.

"I'm sorry that MKs did not come. This is a matter of principle. This is a precedent-setting incident,” Ben-Ari said.

Rivlin once allowed a debate over senior Hamas terrorist Ahmed Yassin, Ben-Ari noted, making his refusal to allow Kahane to be discussed all the more strange, considering that Kahane himself was not considered a terrorist and is still respected as a former MK. "It seems to me that discretion has gone out the window, and has been replaced by aggression,” Ben-Ari accused.