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Kahane Loses Knesset Seat for Refusing to Take Loyalty Oath

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Rabbi Meir Kahane, leader of the Kach Party, was ousted Monday from the Knesset for refusing to take the oath of allegiance to parliament and the State as required by law.

Knesset Speaker Shlomo Hillel said Kahane would be barred from entering the Knesset building as a member and stripped of his right to speak or vote in Knesset deliberations.

The Knesset House Committee will decide later whether Kahane will lose other privileges such as free postage, travel, telephone and housing allowances. The Committee is waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on Kahane’s appeal against his ouster.

If it stand, his privileges may be revoked retroactively to the date of his election to parliament in 1984. That means Kahane would have to reimburse the Knesset for allowances paid to him since then.

When Kahane entered the Knesset chamber Monday he was summoned to the podium by Hillel to take the oath. Holding a Bible open to the Book of Psalms, he said, “I do so undertake” the proper response but added “to admit the supremacy of the Almighty.”

It was the second time Kahane refused to pledge allegiance to the State. When he was sworn in to the Knesset three years ago, he used the same formula. The oath at that time was administered by Yosef Burg of the National Religious Party, who said he heard the words “I do so undertake” and accepted them as satisfactory.

But Attorney General Yosef Harish ruled that if Kahane again refused to take the proper oath he should be removed from parliament. A month ago, MK Eliezer Granot of Mapam and several other MKs testified at an American court hearing that Kahane should lose his American citizenship because he has sworn allegiance to a foreign country. Kahane stated at the time that he had taken no such oath.

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