Glenn Beck is promoting the organization of a far-right Israeli extremist who has ties to the late Rabbi Meir Kahane's terrorist Kach movement.
Yesterday, Beck held a pro-Israel event near the Temple Mount, which is sacred to Muslims, Christians, and Jews. It's the place where the first and second Jewish temples once existed and where the Islamic Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque now stand. Shortly before the event, Beck broadcast a brief feature about the mount, which discussed plans by "religious Jews" to "build a Third Temple" there. Beck's broadcast promoted the work of an organization called the Temple Institute.
NARRATOR: Plans are now underway to build a Third Temple. Groups like the Temple Institute in Jerusalem are preparing the necessary vessels and garments in accordance with Jewish Law. A new generation of Levite priest is being trained for Temple service. And a two million dollar menorah, covered in 95 pounds of gold, stands at the ready. Although Muslim holy sites currently dominate the Temple Mount, religious Jews agree the Temple will be rebuilt here. The only question is whether it will happen before the Messiah comes, or after.
What exactly is the Temple Institute? According to its website, the Institute "is dedicated to every aspect of the Biblical commandment to build the Holy Temple of G-d on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. Our short-term goal is to rekindle the flame of the Holy Temple in the hearts of mankind through education. Our long-term goal is to do all in our limited power to bring about the building of the Holy Temple in our time."
The Jerusalem Post describes the Institute as "a once-marginal organization that has been gaining increasing prominence." According to a January 25, 2000, piece published in Ha'aretz, "most" of the Institute's members are "extreme right wing."
The founder and head of the Institute is Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, who, according to according to the Jerusalem Report, "ran for Knesset on Meir Kahane's racist Kach party ticket in 1981, and has argued that Jewish law does not allow Christians or Muslims to live in the Land of Israel." Ariel was apparently quite close to Kahane. According to a 1990 Jerusalem Post article, Ariel "served as No.2 to Kahane in the early '80s" before Kach was banned from Israeli elections. Ariel was seen as a potential "spiritual successor" to Kahane.
In his book, The End of Days, historian Gershom Gorenberg explained that among the aims of the Kach party "was making sexual relations between a Jew and an Arab a capital crime" and that "the party's eventual goal was the expulsion of all Arabs from Israel and the occupied territories." According to Gorenberg, "Kahane's small group of aggressive followers splattered Jerusalem walls with posters demanding that Israel 'erase the mosques form the Temple Mount.' "
In 1983, Israeli police broke up an alleged plot by armed Kahanists and other extremists to forcibly seize the Temple Mount. According to Reuters, "Police said the group was inspired by Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, who [in 1982] was involved in nationalist resistance to the Israeli withdrawal from Sinai." According to a March 12, 1983, Washington Post article, some of the alleged conspirators were arrested at Ariel's home:
Jerusalem police, alerted in advance, last night broke up what they described as a well-organized attempt by orthodox and militantly nationalistic Jews to take over and establish a "settlement" on the Temple Mount, a site holy to both Jews and Moslems in Jerusalem's Old City.
Police officials said some of those arrested included followers of Rabbi Meir Kahane. ... Some of those arrested, including the soldiers, were armed with automatic weapons in preparation for the takeover attempt, police said.
About 10 Jewish youths were arrested initially, reportedly near the entrance to a blocked passageway through which they apparently hoped to tunnel to reach the Temple Mount. Most of the others were rounded up at the Old City home of Rabbi Israel Ariel, a Kahane ally who was the rabbi of Yamit, the last bitter holdout Jewish settlement in the Sinai, which was returned to Egypt last year under the terms of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.
Kahane, who is in New York, was quoted by Israeli radio as saying he had no advance knowledge of last night's move on the Temple Mount but that he "welcomed" it.
Kahane's followers have been coming into growing conflict with Israeli authorities because of their increasingly militant tactics toward the Palestinians. Several of them were recently detained by police in connection with instances of shooting at Arabs in the Hebron area.
Ariel has nonetheless sought to distance himself and the Temple Institute from those who seek to use terrorism to destroy the mosques in order to rebuild the Jewish Temple. ''We don't want to blow up the mosque,'' he told The New York Times in 1989. ''Our intention is to do everything that we can within the law. We'll prepare whatever we can so that we can eventually worship there again.''
But operating "within the law" has never been a priority for the Kahanist movement. As described by the Anti-Defamation League:
The Kahane Movement consists of several extremist Jewish groups who follow the Jewish nationalist ideology of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane. In Israel, they include: the Kach Party, Kahane Chai, the National Jewish Front and G'dud Haivri (The Jewish Legion); in the United States: the Jewish Defense League, and the Jewish Defense Organization. These organizations advocate militant Jewish nationalism as a means to protect the Jewish people. In its 35 year history, Kahane's supporters have demonstrated a pattern of xenophobia, anti-Arab bigotry and violence in the U.S. and Israel.
Since its inception in 1969, members of the Jewish Defense League and related Kahanist organizations allegedly carried out a relentless campaign of violence, culminating in JDL-member Baruch Goldstein's 1994 massacre of 29 Muslims in Hebron. In 1997, the U.S. State Department officially designated Kach and Kahane Chai as "foreign terrorist organizations." The State Department noted that both groups "were declared to be terrorist organizations in March 1994 by the Israeli Cabinet under the 1948 Terrorism Law. This followed the groups' statements in support of Dr. Baruch Goldstein's attack in February 1994 on the al-Ibrahimi Mosque -- Goldstein was affiliated with Kach -- and their verbal attacks on the Israeli Government."
A 1995 ADL report describes the campaign of violence and racism in Israel and the Palestinian territories during the 1980s linked to Kahanists and Kach, including attempts to bomb the Al Aqsa Mosque. In 1982, "a follower of Kahane's Kach Movement in Israel, Alan Harry Goodman, entered the Al-Agsa Mosque ... and shot Muslim worshipers there, killing one and wounding many others. Kahane described the shooting as 'courageous' and stated that the Kach would pay Goodman's legal fees."
As explained by the ADL, Kach's support for racism and its association with violent activities led to it being banned from Israeli elections:
A year after Kahane's election to a Knesset seat in 1984, the Kach Party was officially banned by the Knesset for "inciting racism and endangering security." Kach was banned from participating in the 1988 Knesset elections, and subsequently in the 1992 elections as well. Kahane's proponence of anti-miscegenation laws which would bar sexual relations between Jews and non-Jews in Israel was but one element of his political program. Violence against Arabs and Jews with whom he disagreed was another. During his tenure in the Knesset, Kahane used his position as a bully pulpit to advocate his views, vowing that he would 'drive this country crazy' and constantly advocated the expulsion of all Arabs from Israel.
None of this apparently persuaded Ariel to cut ties with Kahane. In 2010, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Ariel appeared with other Kach supporters to commemorate Kahane's assassination. Ariel pledged to "destroy" an "Ismael state" if one were established:
Hundreds of Land of Israel Movement activists and supporters of the radical movement Kach held a memorial service on Tuesday to mark 20 years since Rabbi Meir Kahane's assassination.
Kach activist Haim Pearlman, currently under house arrest after his suspected killing of four Arabs in the 1990s, was also among the participants. The wife of the 'Jewish terrorist,' Keren Pearlman, told Ynet: "Today everybody knows that 'Kahane' is not a dirty word."
The assembly was held at the Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Jerusalem, where shirts, books and other items were sold to the crowd. Speeches of the late Kahane were screened as well, while protestors went wild, clapping every time he said "Arabs out."
The founder of the Temple Institute, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, said during the assembly: "Leaders who have ruined our country always tell us that no one can teach them how to love Israel. But this love they are referring to makes them establish an Ishmael state in Israel. If, G-d forbid, an Ishmael state will be built, we will destroy it." The crowd kept cheering him on enthusiastically.