TEL AVIV (Jan. 11)
Rabbi Meir Kahane, leader of the Jewish Defense League said today that he took personal responsibility for hundreds of letters sent by the JDL to Arabs and Druze in Israel offering to finance their departure if they agree to get out of Israel. Justice Minister Yaacov Shimshon Shapiro said earlier this week that there were sufficient grounds for criminal prosecution of Rabbi Kahane and the JDL for sending the letters. Shapiro reported that Attorney General Meir Shamgar believes that the JDL leader can be prosecuted under the sedition laws which include incitement of hatred among the population.
Rabbi Kahane claimed today that there was nothing illegal about the letters and said that if the police returned his passport he would go to the United States to try to raise money for an “Arab emigration fund” to finance the departure of those Arabs willing to leave.
The JDL’s letters to the Druze community were denounced today by President Zalman Shazar. Greeting Druze leaders at his residence on the occasion of the Id el Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), Shazar termed the JDL campaign “disgraceful” and praised Israel’s Druze community for its “valuable contributions for the development of the country.”
Rabbi Kahane, who faces criminal charges in connection with alleged JDL attempts to smuggle arms out of Israel for a private war against Arab terrorists in Europe, spoke defiantly at a press conference here. He said the JDL sent 700 letters and questionnaires to Arabs and Druze asking if they would agree to leave Israel with the JDL’s financial help and that the JDL got 40 affirmative replies and a number of threatening letters. He said that after Shapiro made his remarks in the Knesset about possible criminal proceedings, the JDL mailed 100 more letters.