Knesset Member Matan Kahane (New Right) found himself at the center of controversy on Tuesday after telling a group of high school students: “If I could press a button that would make all the Arabs disappear from here and send all the Arabs on an express train to Switzerland, where they would live wonderful lives, I would wish them the best in Switzerland, I would press that button.” The Minister of Religious Services’ speech took place at the Derech Avot Highschool in Efrat, Judea.
“There is no such button; it seems we are supposed to meet here in some form or another on this land.”
After his sentiments were reported in the state-run Kann news outlet, Kahane went into damage control mode, tweeting: “Conversing w/ students yesterday, I referenced that both Jewish and Arab populations aren’t going anywhere. As such, we must work to live in coexistence. Our coalition is a courageous step towards this goal Within this larger discussion, a few of my statements were worded poorly.”
Ridding Israel of its “inhabitants” is a largely overlooked commandment in the Torah expressly written in the Book of Deuteronomy:
you shall dispossess all the inhabitants of the land; you shall destroy all their figured objects; you shall destroy all their molten images, and you shall demolish all their cult places (Numbers 33:52)
Interestingly, the idea of kicking the Arabs out of Israel was brought to Israel’s mainstream by a late Israeli MK with the same last name – Rabbi Meir Kahane. Rabbi Kahane founded the Kach party, which gained its only seat in 1984. He was assassinated in 1990 in a hotel in New York by an Al Qaeda operative.