Kahane, Meir

Kahane, Meir (b. Martin David Kahane)

(1932–90) rabbi, Jewish activist; born in New York City. At age 15, he was arrested in a protest against the British policy on Jewish immigration to Palestine. Ordained as an Orthodox rabbi, he earned a law degree from New York University. He was a synagogue rabbi and editor of the Jewish Press. In the 1960s he founded the Jewish Defense League, which advocated the use of violence to defend Jewish rights. After moving to Israel in 1971, he founded Kach, a movement aimed at removing Arabs from Israel. He earned a seat in the Israeli parliament in 1981, but his party was later barred from office. He was assassinated in New York, and his alleged assailant, an Egyptian-born American citizen, was found not guilty. He was the author of The Jewish Stake in Vietnam and Never Again.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.