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20 U.S. Jews, Including Kahane, Arrested at Hebron Prayer-in

Some 20 American Jews, led by Rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the Jewish Defense League, were arrested yesterday by Israeli authorities after they prayed, danced and sang on the roof of an abandoned Jewish synagogue in Hebron which had also served as a Hadassah Hospital before the 1929 Arab massacre of Jews in that city. This was the latest in a series of incidents this week and last by Jewish militants from Kiryat Arba and the Gush Emunim to assert a Jewish presence in Hebron, in defiance of a government ban.

The arrests yesterday of Kahane and his followers, who were waving American passports during the demonstration, avoided a major clash between them and hundreds of angry Arab residents of Hebron who gathered to watch the scene. “This is a Jewish city.” Kahane told the crowd. “Abraham lived here and so will we. This is the building where Jews were murdered by Arabs.”

As the group was led away by Israeli army personnel, Arab youngsters in the crowd tossed rocks at the Jewish group. They were dispersed by the Israeli armed forces. Kahane and his followers were arrested on charges of trespass and released on ball pending a hearing. Later in the day another group of some 100 residents from Kiryat Arba conducted evening prayers near the building.

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