Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Kach

October 18, 1988

The Israeli Supreme Court upholds the Central Election Committee’s ban on the extremist right-wing political party Kach from the election for the 12th Knesset.
The basis of the ban is a finding that Kach violates Section 7A of the Basic Law: The Knesset, which bars any party whose object is inciting or engaging in racism. In its appeal to the court, Kach argues that the ban violates the principle of equality established in Section 4 of the same law.
The Supreme Court unanimously and forcefully rejects the appeal. The court had reversed a similar ban on Kach in 1984, when Section 7A did not exist. The court suggested amending the Basic Law, and the Knesset obliged in 1985.
Kach, which advocated stripping the citizenship of non-Jews, fully implementing Jewish law and annexing all occupied territories, was founded by Meir Kahane in 1971. Kahane, a new immigrant to Israel, started the militant Jewish Defense League, now classified as a terrorist organization in the United States. Kach exceeded the electoral threshold to gain a Knesset seat only once, in 1984.
After the party is banned and Kahane is assassinated in New York in 1990, the party splits into two factions, Kach and Kahane Chai, both of which are barred from the 1992 election and banned outright under anti-terrorism laws after they indicate support for the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in Hebron.
Parties espousing Kahanist ideology still exist, most notably Otzma Yehudit.