Followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, a fiery pro-Israel activist branded as a terrorist by the US government for founding the Jewish Defense League (JDL), are warming to an unlikely savior: President-Elect Donald Trump.
This was reflected in an event held at a Young Israel synagogue in Flatbush this week, attended by followers of Kahane, who was assassinated by an Arab gunman in 1990.
Though the event ostensibly commemorated Kahane’s son, Binyamin Kahane, who was murdered along with his wife Talia 17 years ago, the event also celebrated the election of Donald Trump as the 45th U.S. President, according to Haaretz.
“When I saw Donald Trump campaigning, it reminded me of when Meir Kahane was campaigning,” Gennedy Baruch Faybshenko, one of the event’s organizers, said.
“Now, I’m not comparing the two, but the reactions from the people, the liberal left, the establishment was the same,” Faybshenko elaborated. “I saw hatred in the eyes of people in the Democratic Party. And when he won, my God, was I happy and hyper for a week!”
Fabyshenko said he admires Trump’s charisma and believes he will reject Syrian refugees seeking asylum in the U.S., in addition to rejecting the “Palestinian terrorist state” inside Israel.
“Eventually, Israel will have to make a painful decision about whether to be Jewish or democratic, and I just hope and pray they will have a leader, someone with the charisma that Rabbi Kahane had,” Faybshenko said. echoing the words of Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this week.
“Especially with Donald Trump as our president, forget it,” Fabyshenko continued. “The Messiah will come speedy in our time.”
Founded by Meir Kahane in 1968, the Jewish Defense League was branded a terrorist group by the FBI, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Though the JDL currently has no chapters in the United States, it is active in Canada and France under the leadership of Meir Weinstein, who reportedly spearheaded this week’s event as Young Israel.
“We are trying to get something off the ground in New York,” Weinstein said at the memorial event. “We have to resurrect it in other states in the US, in LA, Chicago, Florida, Philadelphia, I get emails from all over the US, we have to get this thing going.”
Weinstein also praised Donald Trump’s choice of David Friedman, a controversial figure, as his ambassador to Israel.
“The pick of ambassador to Israel is a breath of fresh air,” Weinstein said at the memorial. “He thinks how we think, he can fit perfectly well here, there is no question about it. In fact his detractors say that he agrees 100% with our rabbi, and I have no doubt about it.”