KACH, Israeli party established by Rabbi Meir *Kahane in 1971, as an outpost of the Jewish Defense League in the United States. Kach advocated that the halakhah should become the law of the State of Israel in Greater Israel, and proposed that the state's Arab inhabitants be given the option of becoming citizens after a security check, on condition that they would agree to serve in the defense forces and undertake other civilian duties, and accept the status of ger toshav (non-Jewish resident), or emigrating from the country. In the elections to the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Knessets Kach ran but did not pass the 1% qualifying threshold. An attempt to disqualify the party from running in the elections to the Tenth Knesset failed. In that election campaign Kach advocated that the Arabs be expelled from the country, to prevent their becoming a majority. It also advocated that the Camp David Accords and the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty be abrogated, that the Israeli response to acts of terror should be counterterror, and that the mosques be removed from the Temple Mount. Kach was disqualified by the Central Elections Committee from running in the Eleventh Knesset elections. However, the High Court of Justice ruled that the disqualification was illegal. In these elections Kach finally passed the qualifying threshold, and Kahane entered the Knesset. In the Knesset Kahane presented several bills that were rejected by the Knesset Presidium, headed by Knesset Speaker Shlomo *Hillel, since they were viewed as racist. On July 31, 1985, both Basic Law: the Knesset and the Election Law were amended to enable the Central Elections Committee to disqualify lists that incite to racism and deny the democratic character of the State of Israel. On this basis Kach was disqualified from running in the elections to the Twelfth Kensset.
Following the murder of Kahane in November 1990 in New York by an Egyptian assassin, Kach split into two movements. "Kahane Ḥai," which was headed by his son Binyamin Ze‵ev, who was killed in a terrorist attack in Samaria in December 2000, and Ko'aḥ, which soon assumed the name Kach, headed by Kahane's former assistant Baruch Marzel, who lives in Tel Rumeida in Hebron.
Following the massacre by Baruch Goldstein in the Cave of Machpelah on February 24, 1994 – which was welcomed by Kach – the movement was declared illegal, but it has since continued to exist underground, with its members participating in demonstrations, clashing with the police, and attacking Palestinians and Palestinian property. After the Government approved the plan for disengagement from the Gaza Strip and the dismantlement of settlements, Kach advocated violent resistance to the removal of settlements, while verbally and physically attacking ministers. Among its activists are Marzel, No'am Federman, Tiran Pollack, and Itamar Ben-Gvir, who have frequently been detained by the police.
[Susan Hattis Rolef (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.