Survey Outlines Backgrounds of Supporters of Kahane’s Kach Party

Under-educated, disaffected, strongly religious youths of Oriental background are typical of the supporters of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s extremist Kach Party, according to a survey just completed by the Hanoch and Rafi Smith Research Center, published in the Jerusalem Post. The survey also found Kahane’s support to be receding.

Ninety percent of the Israelis who back the Brooklyn-born rabbi who has called for the ouster of all Arabs from Israel and the administered territories are religiously oriented males whose families came to Israel from Islamic countries, who live in poor neighborhoods or development towns and find it hard to get or hold a job, the Smiths, a father-and-son research team, found.

Nearly all in the sampling of voters were under 39 years of age. Most of them therefore were educated in Israel. But nearly 60 percent had less than 12 years’ schooling, a much higher percentage than found among the supporters of any other party represented in the Knesset. A very high percentage were school drop-outs or graduates of low level vocational training courses.

LITTLE SECULAR JEWISH SUPPORT

Nearly half of the respondents identified themselves as ultra-Orthodox, religious or traditional. There were virtually no secular Jews among the Kahane supporters polled. According to the Smiths, their profile is closer to that of the religious parties than to the secular rightwing parties, Likud and Tehiya.

A large majority of the Kach supporters resemble the voters for the religious parties insofar as they support religious values as the basis for Israeli law, the researchers found. They see expansion of religious influence as good and oppose secular Jewish positions in general.

But the tide of Kahane support has receded considerably, according to the survey. From a high of nine percent in August, 1985, it has fallen to three percent of the electorate last month, though this is more than twice the percentage that voted Kahane into the Knesset in 1984. Among Jews of Western origin, his support does not even approach the one percent necessary for a single Knesset seat.

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