Photo: Knesset Website
Meir Kahane - banned for inciting racism
Photo: Knesset Website
Photo: Ronny Scheitzer
Or Akiva (Archive photo)
Photo: Ronny Scheitzer

Street named after Kahane irks residents

Or Akiva residents outraged over street named after rabbi whose party was outlawed for inciting racism. 'It's a dead-end alley and no one has complained about it,' mayor says

Most Israeli cities have streets named after Yitzhak Rabin, Theodore Herzel, Ze'ev Jabotinsky and various other national leaders – but only Or Akiva, north of Tel Aviv, has a street named after Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose extreme right-wing party was banned from the Knesset for inciting racism.


Kahane founded Kach, a party which advocated transferring Palestinians out of the territories for monetary compensation and annexing those territories as part of an ideology believing in the concept of 'a greater Israel.'


The party won one seat in the 1984 Knesset and was subsequently banned from participating in future elections after the Election Law was amended to bar lists that incite racism.


He also founded the Jewish Defense League (JDL), which is listed by the FBI as a terrorist group.


Kahane was murdered by El Sayyid Nosair in 1990 after a speech in New York.


'It's completely ludicrous' 

All of this well-documented racist behavior, however, didn't stop Or Akiva from naming a street in his honor, causing residents to respond with outrage.


"It's completely ludicrous. Naming a street after Kahane does nothing to dignify Or Akiva. Everybody knows who he was and what his life's work was. This is a very poor example of the tolerance, equality and vision of a city like Or Akiva," said one such resident on Monday.


"They should have changed the name a long time ago," said one man who lives on the controversial street in question. The man said he was ashamed for Or Akiva and extremely unhappy about the choice.


But there were also residents who were unmoved by the decision. One of them said, "I don't have a problem with it. Kahane was a Jew who had opinions and he was murdered because of them. It's fine by me that there is a street named after him."


Or Akiva Mayor Simcha Yosifuv responded to the outcry on Monday, saying that "the decision to name a street after him was made 15 years ago. I wasn't the mayor then. It's a dead-end alley and in the four years I've been mayor not a single person has come forward to complain about it.


"He was a Jew who was murdered by fanatics because of his opinions. If any resident has a problem with the street we will bring the matter to the city council for discussion."


פרסום ראשון: 02.13.07, 09:12
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