Until his murder in 1990, Meir Kahane was a leader of organizations considered to be terrorist groups by the Israeli and American governments. His racist philosophy lives on, but in two recent cases the Israeli government has cracked down on his disciples.
After receiving a petition from NIF grantee Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit decided that Bentzi Gopstein must stand trial for inciting his followers to violence against Arabs. Gopstein is the leader of Lehava, a violent and extremist organization that opposes “Jewish assimilation” and militantly objects to personal relationships between Jews and non-Jews. Lehava has been linked to violent attacks targeting Palestinian adolescents in Jerusalem.
IRAC Director Rabbi Noa Sattath said, “we congratulate the Attorney General for finally acting against one of the biggest purveyors of racist incitement in Israel. There is no place for organizations like Lehava, who prey on vulnerable groups, in a democratic society.”
Earlier this month, following enormous public pressure, an advertising agency agreed to remove huge ads on the side of two Jerusalem hotels for a Lehava event marking the anniversary of Meir Kahane’s death. Kahane’s political party was outlawed by the Israeli government as a terrorist organization and the ad was offensive to the targets of Kahane’s racist philosophy.
Despite the outcry, the right-wing Israel Hayom newspaper shamelessly ran the Kahane ad several days later. NIF is committed to continuing this fight against racist extremism in the public sphere.
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