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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Kach Running Training Camps In Israel

Officially Kahane Chai (Kach), the Jewish extremist movement based upon the teachings of Rabbi Meir Kahane are outlawed in Israel. In reality, a lot of people,- a minority, but not a negligible minority,- seem to be attracted to his teachings. While it is difficult,- and, in my view, unnecessary,- to outlaw any ideology per se, I think it is both the right and the responsibility of the state to clamp down on any movement that turns its ideology into violent action, or undertakes physical preparation for such action.

Such preparations are underway in Israel now. Kachane Chai is training the settler youths in Gaza in resisting the potential government's attempts to vacate the settlements there. The organizers of this training make no secrets of the goals:
"We are preparing the youths to circumvent army roadblocks, how they should talk to soldiers, and how to navigate in the field," explained right-wing extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is identified with the outlawed Kahane movement. "Everything is for, heaven forbid, a possible attempt to expel Jews from their homes. These youths, and many others who will come to Gush Katif and the Shomron, will say to Ariel Sharon and his accomplices: 'We're not leaving here alive,'" he said.
Some of them are using an overtly militant language:
Baruch Ben-Yosef, one of the organizers of the "boot camp," said, "Our goal is to lead the battle against withdrawal. We hope that the youths in the camp will recruit dozens and hundreds of additional youths who will come at the proper time to fight," he said.
I think this is a serious challenge to Israel, and to maintain the rule of law Israel must meet it and not run away for it. I think it is also important to realize that the threat of Jewish extremism, in Israel and elsewhere, is quite real, and in its root nature not much different from that of Arab and Muslim extremist groups, or any other violent extremist groups, for that matter. It may also be the case that it is this Jewish extremism, and not its Palestinian counterpart, that represents the biggest threat to the future of Israel.

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