Tax-exempt U.S. donations finance outlawed group’s West Bank school
KFAR TAPUAH, West Bank (AP) _ An unlikely beneficiary of U.S. tax benefits is a West Bank religious school that openly promotes the expulsion of Arabs from biblical Israel.
The school keeps alive the extremist ideology of founder Rabbi Meir Kahane, who was assassinated in New York in 1990.
The two main Israeli organizations of Kahane followers _ Kahane Chai and Kach _ are outlawed in Israel and listed as terrorist organizations in the United States, where they are barred from raising funds.
Yet a group devoted to raising funds for the school, run by Kahane Chai activists, is registered as a non-profit organization with the Internal Revenue Service. Contributions to it are tax-deductible.
The yeshiva, located in the Kfar Tapuah settlement 18 miles east of Tel Aviv, is run by Benjamin Kahane, the late rabbi’s son.
Its 15 students, ages 16 to 20, meet in an unmarked white house, where they write articles and pamphlets that are distributed at high schools and rallies around the country.
Lenny Goldberg, an immigrant from the New York borough of Queens and an associate of Kahane, said the students also run camps at which they teach self-defense and shooting.
``The purpose of the yeshiva is to create a scholar-warrior,″ he said, as well as to keep alive the teachings of the late rabbi.
``What we learn no other yeshivas teach,″ Goldberg said. ``We have to throw the Arabs out of the land. That’s what we say _ that’s the answer.″
Israeli authorities confiscated the guns of Kahane followers in 1994 and outlawed Kach and Kahane Chai after Kahane supporter Baruch Goldstein gunned down 29 Muslim worshipers in a Hebron mosque.
Goldberg said followers are trying to get new weapons from sympathetic army officers.
``We’re working on that, but it’s going to take some time,″ he said.
In Washington, IRS spokesman Steve Pyrek confirmed to The Associated Press that the American Friends of Yeshivat Harav Meir is a tax-deductible charity in good standing.
Records on file with the New York Attorney General’s office show the group has failed to file required financial reports for three years. In 1993, the last year it filed a report, the group received $116,459 in tax-deductible donations.
Bentzion Greenberger, an attorney at the Israeli government agency that registers non-profit organizations, said Yeshivat Harav Meir applied for non-profit status several years ago. The request was denied ``on the basis that it would be a front for non-yeshiva activities that were suspected to be illegal,″ he said.
However, the AP found the school registered as a non-profit under the name Kfar Tapuah Yeshiva, although it had failed to file financial reports.
A woman who answered the telephone at Kfar Tapuah Yeshiva confirmed it was Benjamin Kahane’s yeshiva.