Kahane Stripped of U.S. Citizenship

Meir Kahane, the Brooklyn-born rabbi who emigrated to Israel 14 years ago and is now the representative of the extremist Kach Party in the Knesset, has been stripped of his American citizenship. He had held dual citizenship.

According to the State Department, which made the announcement on Friday, the Department issued a certificate of loss of nationality for Kahane last Wednesday, stating that he had withdrawn himself from citizenship as of August 13, 1984, by assuming his seat in the Knesset. The action prompted a State Department review of the status of his citizenship.

James Callahan, a Department spokesman, said Kahane’s loss of citizenship was sealed September 12 when he told a National Press Club audience that he retained his U.S. citizenship to avoid the necessity of obtaining a visa when he wished to visit the U.S.

The State Department, in a statement Friday, said that Kahane “is free to apply for a visa to visit the United States as an Israeli citizen, but we cannot speculate on the outcome of a future application.”

United States immigration laws state that serving in the armed forces of a foreign country or holding high office in a foreign government may result in the loss of nationality. The laws, however, also provide for a number of exceptions that can be granted by the Secretaries of State or Defense.

In Israel, the Knesset on July 31 moved against Kahane by banning from future elections any political party that advocates racism and required MKs to relinquish non-Israeli citizenship. The law is to take effect later this fall. Kahane, who is the leader of the Kach Party, advocates the expulsion of all Arabs from Israel and the administered territories.

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