KAHANE, MEIR (1932–1990), religious activist. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he was as a youth a member of the *Betar youth movement and was often imprisoned for his acts of violence. He was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi and graduated in law from New York University. In 1960, he founded the Jewish Defense League whose activities included self-defense of the Jewish community of Brooklyn threatened with urban violence and harassment of Soviet activities in New York as a protest against the treatment of Jews in Russia. In 1971 he moved to Israel and in 1976 founded the extremist nationalist *Kach movement, advocating the removal of Arabs from Israel. Kahane served as a member of the Knesset on its behalf, 1981–1985. His party was eventually disbarred for its racism and advocacy of violence. Kahane was assassinated while addressing a meeting in New York. An Egyptian-born Arab was acquitted of the murder on technicalities but in 1995 was sentenced to a long term of imprisonment for his involvement in Muslim fundamentalist terror in New York.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.