NEW YORK (Oct. 31)
Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose Kach party was banned by Israel’s highest court from running in Tuesday’s Knesset elections, said Monday that he intends to change the name of his party and make some “cosmetic changes” in the party’s platform so he can run in Israel’s next election.
Speaking at a news conference at the Grand Hyatt Hotel here, the American-born rabbi said he will change the name of his party from Kach, or “thus,” to Koach, or “strength.”
“On the political level we will make only cosmetic changes,” he said. “We will not change our principles.”
Kahane said that the newly named party will use only quotes from the Bible to advocate its policies.
Kahane said that he will announce the formation of Koach when he returns to Israel next week. He predicted that no party will win a decisive majority and that Israelis will have to go to the polls again in the near future.
Kahane claimed that Kach would have captured between eight and 10 seats in the next Knesset.
“Likud was terrified that I would take away from them at least five seats,” Kahane said.
He blamed the Likud and its leader, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, for being “the major force” behind the move to ban Kach.
Kach was banned from running in the elections on the grounds that it is racist and opposed to the democratic nature of the state.
“I am not a racist,” Kahane said. “Every law I proposed in the Knesset was based on Judaism.” He charged that the banning of Kach is “a blow to democracy.”
“Even if I were a racist,” Kahane argued, “how can they ban me and still be a democracy?”
Kahane, who appeared composed and confident, said that “it is not relevant whether the Labor or Likud” will be victorious in the elections because neither has the answers to Israel’s problems.
Kahane predicted that soon the Palestinian uprising will spill into Israel proper. “The Arabs within the Green Lines are completely behind the intifada,” he maintained, warning that sooner or later the Jews in Israel will start reacting with violence against the rioting Arabs.
Kahane, who renounced his American citizenship in order to run for the Knesset, said that he now seeks to regain his citizenship because “the U.S. will never allow me in America on a visa.”
The U.S. State Department had barred Kahane’s entry into the United States because of his renouncement.
But a U.S. district judge issued a temporary restraining order Oct. 26, which allows Kahane to enter this country until a federal court rules on his lawsuit.
Kahane, who believes he will win his case in court early next year, said he entered the United States last week on his American passport.
Kahane said that now that he is no longer in the Knesset, he intends to come more often to the United States to speak on campuses and before other audiences. “I have much to say to young people in America.”