The New Right's latest recruit: An F-16 fighter pilot

Israeli Air Force Colonel Matan Kahana joins Knesset list of party formed by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Matan Kahana
Matan Kahana
Avichai Soher

Following the addition of journalist Caroline Glick, and the first deaf candidate to the Knesset, Shirley Pinto, Ministers Shaked and Bennett have announced Matan Kahana as the next name to be added to the New Right (Yamin HeHadash) Knesset list.

Until recently a colonel in the IDF reserves, Kahana served as a fighter pilot, commander of an F-16 squadron, and previously served in the elite Sayeret Matkal unit.

Kahana first came to know party chairman, Minister Naftali Bennett, in the early 1990s when he joined the Sayeret Matkal commando unit, where he served with Bennett as well as with Lt. Col. Emmanuel Moreno, who was killed in the Second Lebanon War.

Kahana, who served in the IDF for 28 years as a combat officer, is one of the few fighter pilots in the history of the IDF who began his military career in the Sayeret Matkal commando unit, and has participated in many Israel Air Force operations.

As commander of the F-16 "Haemek" squadron in Ramat David, he commanded the late Tamar Ariel, the first female religious fighter navigator in the Israel Air Force, who was killed in a snowstorm in Nepal in October 2014.

Matan, 46, holds a BA and MA in Law from Bar Ilan University, and is a graduate of Nativ Meir, one of the flagship schools of Religious Zionism.

Since his release from the IDF last August, he has served as director of the Diaspora Project in the Education Ministry, which works to promote education projects connecting the State of Israel to Diaspora Jewry.

"Very few people who managed to serve in Sayeret Matkal have gone on to complete the pilot training course and command combat squadrons,” said Minister Shaked.

“Col. (Res.) Matan Kahana has served the State of Israel for many years. And three months from now, he will serve the citizens of Israel from the Knesset. Matan, a member of the Religious Zionist community, represents a true, ideological right, which works for the future of the State of Israel. I want to congratulate him on his entry into the political arena, and hope that in addition to the values he brings, he will be able to apply the organizational culture of the Air Force in the public sector."

Minister of Education and Chairman of the New Right, Naftali Bennett added, "Matan, my comrade in arms and life for 28 years, is one of the best sons, and commanders, of Israel. During his many years in the IDF, he commanded hundreds of fighters and combat pilots and participated in many operations, always willing to sacrifice of himself for all of us. He broke the glass ceiling and served as a role model for both religious youth and young Israelis in general. Matan represents dedication to a mission, to Zionism and to values that everyone would like to see in the Knesset and in the country's leadership. Now he is moving on from his days in the elite units of the IDF, to the elite of HaYamin HeHadash. He is joining the excellent team we are forming, and he will continue his many years of wonderful work in the true home of the right wing in Israel. With people like him serving in the public arena, Israel is heading in the right direction."

Following his addition to the New Right’s Knesset list, Matan Kahana said the newly-established party would help Israel “go back to winning”.

"Throughout all my years in the IDF, I have worked with my commanders and soldiers to ensure the safety of the citizens of Israel and our continued existence in this country. Unfortunately, I lost friends on the battlefield, but I always remembered our goal. I want to bring the value of partnership I had in my military service to the Knesset. I am entering politics because I saw as a commander that we were fighting together, not looking to see who is wearing a Kipa or not, but as Israeli society, looking at each eye to eye, heart to heart. Together with my fellow soldier, Naftali Bennett, and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, we will bring a truly new right - uncompromising but optimistic. Not one that hesitates nor divides. I have no doubt that we can do good things in a wide range of areas. Israel will go back to winning."

Matan Kahane
Avichai Soher