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Kach Movement (Israel)

Tenuat Kakh

Last modified: 2024-01-13 by martin karner
Keywords: kach movement | tenuat kakh | kakh | kahane (meir) | jewish defense league | jdl | star: 6 points (black) | fist (yellow) |
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[Kakh Movement (Israel)]
image by Tomislav Todorovic | 2:3

N.B. the above image is missing an inscription

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This movement was banned from taking part in the elections after the Supreme Court decision that it is a racist movement whose aims are in contradiction with the democratic nature of Israel.
Dov Gutterman
, 5 June 2001

The late Rabbi Meir Kahane was the founder and leader of the American Jewish Defense League (JDL), a militant Jewish organization in the United States which was very active in struggles against anti-Jewish activities there. After emigrating to Israel, Kahane run for elections to the Knesset in his Kahane to the Knesset whose initials formed the word KAKH. Kahana got one seat in the Knesset and was quite bold in his ultra-right views.
Four years later the Supreme Court banned his movement from running again, basically because the movement was against the democratic character of the state. Kahane kept his activities outside the Knesset. Kahane was eventually killed in the USA, and his movement split into two fractions. One kept the old name, the other one called Kahane Chai (meaning Kahane is alive) led by his son. Both were declared illegal few years ago, and the use of their symbols is banned (even if you can still see them).
Dov Gutterman
, 13 November 2001

Kahane is pronounced Kahana or sometimes Kahanee. Kakh (Kach in English spelling) is a Hebrew word meaning 'thus', taken from the slogan of the Irgun (a 1940s militant group), Rak Kakh or 'Only Thus'. Kahane's son was killed last year and the two movements work more or less together nowadays. Of course, officially neither exists, they are both illegal.
Nathan Lamm
, 13 November 2001


The original flag was the Jewish Defense League (JDL) emblem, a fist on a Magen David, in black on a yellow background with inscription below. Both fractions kept using this flag, probably with different inscriptions. Unfortunately I cannot recall what the inscriptions were. Photos can be seen here and here at the movement website. The above image is lacking the inscription.
Dov Gutterman
, 13 November 2001

Another illustration of appropriation of (radical) left-wing movemements' symbolism by (extreme) right-wing movements. This was originally the fist of the Black Power movement in the USA, also used by the Azanian People's Organization.
Jarig Bakker
, 13 November 2001

The JDL emblem was blue on white, as the Israeli flag. I do not think they had a flag. The words (all in capitals) JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE were lined up, one below the other, at the opening at the bottom right of the symbol, and, below them, "Never Again" (in quotes, one line). This was the motto of the organization, referring to the Holocaust. I have seen the claim that the fist and star emblem was used by Jewish partisans in World War Two, but have never seen evidence of this. The Israeli movements, being in Israel, presumably did not need to evoke Israel. Instead, black on yellow – the color of Nazi badges for Jews – was used, to turn the colors into those of Jewish pride.
There are two slight variants of the symbol, one primarily used by the JDL, one by the Israeli groups, although there is an overlap. The image above is inexact.
The Kach flag had the words, in Hebrew sans serif font, Tenuat Kach ('The Kach Movement') in the opening, on two lines. Kahane Chai flipped the colors – yellow on black – but its flag was still black on yellow. They added a flame above the star – perhaps as some sort of memorial – and placed the words, in Hebrew italic font, Kahane Chai below. In addition, they placed the word, in Hebrew italic font, Koach ('strength' and a Hebrew acronym of Kahane Chai) at the opening. In all cases, the slogan lines up against where the line on the star would be.
There have been quite a few other symbols (and colors and names) used over the years, especially for subgroups and organizations, fronts, break-offs, and so on – see the State of Judea flag for some examples (six triangle star, lion, tablets, menorah etc.). This has increased since the banning, as the need to make fronts has increased. One used in Brooklyn has a symbol showing a menorah and star, sometimes with a different type of fist. One flag I have seen is the yellow on black Kahane Chai version (with flame) but with only 'WWW.KAHANE.ORG' written below (as in this image). Apart from that, the Kach and Kahane Chai flags described above, and the State of Judea flag, I have never seen any other flags.
The flag in the first picture reported by Dov Gutterman shows the words in thin letters and in one line, with the word "Kach" in quotes. The flag I own shows the words lined up at the invisible line at the opening, in thick letters, one above the other, with no quotation marks. The first picture shows Binyamin Kahane, late son of Meir and leader of Kahane Chai. The second picture shows Mike Guzofsky, leader of Kahane Chai in America. Its fist is more like the image above (in general the emblem, including the flame, is simpler) but the first photo's fist is more linear – thin and straight.
Finally, as to the radical left inspiration, Meir Kahane himself freely admitted this – that the atmosphere of the sixties made it easier for him to start a movement of his own. He even had kind words to say about the Black Panthers' (and similar groups') ultimate goals, if not their methods and ideas. The "Black Panthers" was also an unrelated leftist Israeli group of the seventies, representing poorer Sephardic Jews, taking inspiration, and its name, from the American Panthers.
Nathan Lamm
, 13 November 2001

The Israeli Black Panthers was a social movement led by Se'adia Marziano and Charlie Biton, which fought against discrimination of oriental Jews (i.e. Sephardic Jews) in the late 1960s and early 1970s. One of its leaders became a Knesset Member after joining the New Communist Party. I cannot recall any flags used.
The current party of Sephardic Jews is Shas.
Dov Gutterman
, 14 November 2001

Jewish Nationalist Kahane Movement flag can be found at
Gary Selikow, 16 December 2003

The flags of the movement vary widely, and I doubt there is any official one. The "fist on star" originated with the Jewish Defense League. They used it in blue on white (to evoke the Israeli flag), but I'm not sure if they used flags. After a slight change in design, it was used by the Israeli movements, Kach and Kahane Chai (the second a splinter from the first). Kach used black on yellow (to evoke the Nazi Jewish badge); their flag added the words "Kach Movement" in Hebrew in the open part of the star (not evident on the version posted- the fist should be an outline, not black). Kahane Chai used yellow on black with all sorts of variations, and also used black on yellow in variations and so on. Since the movements were banned, they've used all sorts of variants, symbols, and names.
Nathan Lamm, 16 December 2003

Flag with Martin David Kahane on it

[Kakh Movement (Israel)] image located by Esteban Rivera

It has been quite common in rather recent times (since about 15–20 years ago) the practice of some movements to portray their leaders' silhouette over the movements background flag (a practice very much carried out by Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and even radical Jews. In this case, there's a flag that follows that same pattern, only this time the flag in question is found in Israel.
The flag is a yellow horizontal background with the silhouette of Martin David Kahane, an American-born Israeli ordained Orthodox rabbi, who adopted the name Meir David HaKohen Kahane, known as Meir Kahane, who established the Kach movement. Below his image is the inscription in a black strip "כולנו כהנא" (English: We are all Kahana, Kahana the transliteration of his name).
Image above cropped from the original located at Picture caption reads: "A teen holds up a flag which reads 'We are all Kahane' at a protest in support of a soldier charged with manslaughter in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on April 19, 2016. (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel staff)"
Esteban Rivera, 4 February 2022