Rabbi Meir Kahane, leader of the extremist Kach Party which he now represents in the Knesset, was today prevented by police from entering the Israeli Arab village of Umm El-Fahm, where he had planned to appeal to its 25,000 in habitants to emigrate.
In a clash between stone-throwing village youths massing to prevent Kahane’s approach and police determined to keep order, six policemen were injured by fist-sized rocks and six young Arabs were hurt by gas pellets fired by the security forces.
Kahane arrived in the vicinity of the village in the Wadi Arra — still officially described as a village although with its 25,000 inhabitants it is larger than some towns in Israel — at the head of a convoy of cars filled with his followers, some of whom were reported to be armed.
He had announced some time ago, while he was running for the Knesset, that he would visit Umm El-Fahm to urge Israeli Arabs to emigrate to Arab lands, claiming they had no place in a Jewish State.
Village leaders had responded by saying he would not be allowed in, and leftwing and liberal Jews had promised to come to the village to help stand guard against his entry.
POLICE REMOVE KAHANE FROM THE SCENE
The Kahane convoy was halted by police and border patrols some two miles from the village. The Kach leader and his followers then started walking toward their objective. But some hundreds of yards away they were stopped by senior police officers who told Kahane that for “operational and professional reasons” he could not enter the village.
His parliamentary immunity does not allow for his arrest or detention, but when he persisted in trying to continue, two policemen led him firmly to a police van, in which he was taken to a nearby police station and told to leave the area.
Kahane shouted at the police and nearby reporters: “Give me 15 policemen and we will deal with them … Those dogs should be gassed.” Passing motorists shouted “fascist” and “Hitler” at Kahane.
VILLAGERS ARE JUBILANT
Most of the Umm El-Fahm villagers and hundreds of Jewish sympathizers had, meanwhile, massed before the village from shortly after dawn, in preparation for Kahane’s anticipated arrival. According to the Village Elder, it was the long, hot and anxious wait which caused the youngsters to clash with the police.
When the news reached the village that Kahane was barred by police from entering it, the villagers were jubilant. Elders clapped each other on the back, saying: “We said we would not allow him in …. We’ve done it, we’ve done it …. It is better than we could have possibly hoped for.”
Kahane was not detained, according to police, because of his parliamentary immunity. But he was firmly told he could not enter the village because this would create a riot.
SHAMIR DENOUNCES’KAHANE PHENOMENON’
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who was queried about Kahane at a meeting today of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said he knew “we would all eat gall from this man” when the Supreme Court overturned the Election Committee’s decision to bar Kach (and the Progressive List for Peace) from running for the Knesset.
Shamir termed the “Kahane phenomenon” “negative, dangerous and damaging” and said, according to reports emanating from the Committee’s deliberation, that Israel must find a way of curbing it.
The Premier reportedly criticized, albeit obliquely legal and judical experts who interpreted the law narrowly so as to enable Kahane to enjoy a broad area of immunity and freedom of action. Shamir seemed to be saying that the legal authorities ought to have barred Kahane from Umm El-Fahm from the outset.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.