Kahane Allowed into the U.S.
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Kahane Allowed into the U.S.

Rabbi Meir Kahane, the Brooklyn-born founder of the Jewish Defense League and its former leader, who is now a member of Israel’s Knesset representing the Kach Party he founded there, is now in the United States on a hoctic speaking tour.

Kahane arrived in the U.S. last Thursday from Israel, but there was a question as to whether he would be allowed to enter because the State Department earlier this month issued a certificate of loss of nationality for Kahane. Adela Levy, the rabbi’s personal secretary who is also director of the office of “The Jewish Idea,” a weekly column written by Kahane, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that the Kach leader had not surrendered his passport and had arrived in the U.S. at Kennedy Airport “as an American citizen.”

When she was reminded that the State Department had announced on October 3 that it was revoking Kahane’s citizenship and ordering him to surrender his passport, Levy replied that “everything had been straightened out by his attorney,” Barry Slotnick, a New York lawyer.


“The Jewish Idea” office sent out a statement by Kahane announcing his scheduled arrival and with it, a photocopy of a letter to the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem dated October 6, in which he declared, “Since I reject your finding that I have relinquished my United States citizenship and since I intend to immediately take the necessary legal steps in regard to this, I continue to regard myself as a United States citizen and therefore have no intention of surrendering my passport.”

The State Department, in its October 3 announcement, said that Kahane had “withdrawn” from his citizenship, as of August 13, 1984, by assuming his seat in the Knesset, an action which prompted the State Department to review the status of his citizenship. Like many Americans, Kahane had dual citizenship — American and Israeli.

James Callaghan, a Department spokesman, said Kahane’s loss of citizenship was sealed when he told a National Press Club audience in Washington recently that he retained his American citizenship to avoid having to get a visa each time he wanted to visit the U.S. The Department said at the time that Kahane was free to apply for a visa to visit the U.S. as an Israeli citizen but that “we cannot speculate on the outcome of a future application.”

Last Friday, a federal judge set aside a request by Kahane for an injunction to restore his U.S. citizenship. District Court Judge Leo Glaser of Brooklyn, in handing down his decision, said the courts would consider the issue after a federal agency reviewed the request. Kahane had asked for the injunction which would restore his U.S. citizenship until after his appeal would be heard by the State Department of Appellate Review.

Kahane was allowed to enter the U.S. last Thursday after securing a certificate of identity issued to persons contesting their citizenship.

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