TEL AVIV (Aug. 9)
Rabbi Meir Kahane is giving up his U.S. citizenship, apparently to clear the way for him to lead the Kach party list in the November Knesset elections.
At a news conference held here Tuesday to announce Kach’s list of candidate, Kahane told reporters that he would inform U.S. authorities Wednesday that he was surrendering his U.S. passport.
Like many American immigrants, Kahane maintains dual citizenship in the United States and Israel. In 1985, soon after he was elected to the Knesset as Kach’s sole representative, the U.S. State Department revoked his U.S. citizenship. Immigration officials ruled that his membership in a foreign legislature was equivalent to renouncing his U.S. citizenship.
Kahane appealed the decision in U.S. federal court, and his passport was restored.
The State Department renewed its efforts to revoke Kahane’s citizenship after he officially took his oath of office in July 1987. Immigration officials considered such an oath, pledging loyalty to Israel and taken only after Kahane exhausted all efforts to stall the ceremony, as a “voluntary expatriating act.” The case is ongoing.
Kach spokespersons said Tuesday that they did not fear any attempts to bar the party from running in the elections, saying they had “many legal measures” to ensure their “large-scale presence” in the next Knesset.
The Knesset has drafted a number of anti-racism laws aimed at Kahane, who promotes the expulsion of all Arabs in Israel territory to Arab states and opposes Israeli democracy as a threat to the state’s Jewish character.
The 25 relatively unknown Kach members on the party’s list were given scant attention at the news conference, held at the headquarters of the Israel Journalists Association. Most of a booklet distributed at the conference was devoted to Kahane. It described him as a “revolutionary, philosopher, visionary” and “learned Talmud scholar.”
The booklet also explained that there are no women on the Kach list “for religious reason.”
Police were called in when young members of the leftist party Mapam demonstrated outside of the association, protesting that the journalists had provided Kach with a platform to present racist doctrines.