Rabbi Meir Kahane was hated by the Israeli establishment but could gather thousands of fanatical young Jews to march through the streets of Jerusalem shouting "Death to the Arabs."

Kahane founded the militant Jewish Defense League in the United States.In Israel, he created the Kach movement, which demanded the ouster of all Arabs from Israeli-held territory.

The 58-year-old rabbi, with a salt-and-pepper beard and piercing eyes, could give coldly logical explanations for his views at news conferences and speeches arousing hatred on the streets.

"Revenge is a very Jewish concept," he used to say when asked about his call to expel the 1.7 million Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip as well as the 800,000 Arab citizens from Israel.

When he was elected to the Israeli Parliament in 1984, Kahane promised a bill that would bring about such an ouster.

"There will be a detailed bill calling for the transfer of the Arabs from the land of Israel," he said in an interview.

"We expect a majority of them to leave on their own since the promise is that those who are ready to leave quietly will receive compensation, and those who won't, we'll throw out," he explained.

Kahane, however, was blocked from enforcing his ideas by both the Israeli left and right. His term in the Knesset, or parliament, was fiery but without results.

At his death, he faced charges of sedition in Israel for saying at a rally that Arabs were "a cancer spreading in our midst." He had been barred in 1988 from running again for the Knesset under a court ruling that deemed his faction racist.

(Additional information)


Were 2 slayings retribution?

Two elderly Palestinians were shot and killed Tuesday in the occupied West Bank, hours after a gunman believed to be of Arab descent assassinated militant Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York.

Israeli news reports suggested the killings were linked.

An Israel radio police reporter said that before news of the West Bank slayings was aired, an anonymous caller speaking Hebrew told him "to check in one of the villages near Nablus, two Arabs were killed there."

The reporter, Moshe Nussbaum, quoted Kahane supporters in Jerusalem as saying they believed the killings were carried out to avenge the assassination and that more attacks could take place.

Arab reports said the killings in the West Bank village of Lubban Sharqiya near Nablus were carried out by a man in civilian clothing who fired an Uzi submachine gun and drove a car with Israeli license plates.

The army said the deaths were under investigation.