“…Indeed, my life has been one of ideas which were eventually taken up bythe people and became acceptable…I’ve already won.” These words are taken from Rabbi Kahane’s final speech at the Marriot Hotel in the heart of Manhattan. About twenty minutes later, he was shot to death by an Arab and his soul was returned to its Creator after 58 stormy years in this world.
His final speech was given at a ZEERO conference, a movement he organized to urge Americans to make emergency Aliyah to avoid the Holocaust that would eventually befall them. As he spoke these words, he unwittingly eulogized himself, as if he knew of the tragedy which would follow.
It may be that this last speech best expresses the greatness of Rabbi Kahane. He fought for and raised issues that seemed futile, and ignored the fact that people would be shocked and angry by his words, for he believed that someone had to say the truth.
Here was the American Jew, fat and content to be sitting in the fleshpots, while he, the watchman of our times sees the ground trembling beneath them. But they don’t understand, or simply do not want to, and during the time he is patiently answering their questions, while he is wrapped up in the people he so loves, as he is connecting to them and trying to move and influence and touch their souls – during these very moments his soul is taken.
The murder occurred at 9:00 PM New York time. It immediately made the major headlines both in Israel and abroad. Everyone, including those who hated and banned him were stunned. They, too, knew that a Jewish leader had fallen. But what they knew in their hearts they could not show outwardly.
In their filthy and slanderous newspaper articles and broadcasts, theycontinued their asinine and savage attacks, as if to abuse the corpse thathad shouted the truth to them for so many years.
And the funeral. Such a funeral Jerusalem had never seen. Street afterstreet were filled with people from all walks of life numbering over 150,000 gathered around the Yeshiva of the Jewish Idea. Everyone loved him. All those whom he could not awaken from their apathy in his life, were now awakened through his death, and they came to escort the prince that understood their problems and pain. The funeral lasted hours upon hours, as the masses of people escorted him to the gravesite. And Rabbi Meir Kahane was buried in the holy ground of Jerusalem. His blood cries for vengeance!!