The murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane 1990 – Chronicle of an assassin

Article author: Miky Weinberg – Owner of the Tarantula Technologies Ltd and Octagon Security Ltd Companies.

On November 5, 1990, Rabbi Meir Kahane addressed Orthodox Jews at the Marriott hotel in New York in an attempt to persuade them to make aliyah (immigrate) to Israel. After the speech, shortly after 9:00 PM, as the crowd gathered around Kahane, the assassin El Sayyid Nosair, dressed as an ultra-Orthodox Jew, emerged and shot one bullet into Kahane’s neck, killing him. During his escape from the courtroom, El Sayyid Nosair was wounded by a police officer. El Sayyid Nosair survived the injury, survived the charges for the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane, and was eventually charged with possession of a weapon and shooting at civilians and a police officer.

Was El Sayyid Nosair born a murderer?

El Sayyid Nosair was born in Port Said, Egypt, where he became an engineer and worked in this field. In 1981 he emigrated to the United States, and in 1989 became an American citizen, married, and had three children (one of them is Zak Ebrahim). Nosair lived in New Jersey and worked various jobs in New Jersey and New York. Among other things, Nosair was employed by New York City to repair air conditioners in the city’s criminal court. It seems that El Sayyid Nosair managed to fit well into the wheel of life in the United States and together with his family created a good and comfortable routine.

Ebrahim remembers his father as a loving father with an excellent sense of humor, who did not quarrel with his wife and was only interested in raising his children to be good people. In his adulthood, Ebrahim was asked what had changed in his father and when did this happen? This was his response: “When I was 6, something started to happen to my father. He became depressed, stayed at home a lot, and would read the Koran quietly. My father started going to the mosque regularly. One of the preachers in the mosque especially captured my father’s heart: Abdullah Yusuf Azzam (one of the founders and thinkers of the ideology of Sunni international Islamic terrorism in the twentieth century, and a senior member of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization.) My father met Abdullah Azzam at the mosque and returned enthusiastically. He and his friends from the mosque went out to the camps to practice survival skills and hand-to-hand combat. They also practiced shooting. He also started taking me to the mosque to listen to the inciting sermons of the “blind sheikh” – Omar Abdul-Rahman, the spiritual father of many terror organizations and close to bin Laden. The religious preaching of the blind sheikh did not exactly focus on honoring parents or the importance of prayer. My father took me with him to hear the blind sheikh many times. I did not understand enough Arabic to grasp more than a few words, but the cruelty that emerged from his person made me shiver. My father got closer to the blind sheikh and became his driver and bodyguard. The breaking point came when my father told my mother that he no longer wanted to support jihad from afar. He aspires to go to Afghanistan and take up arms. My mother was horrified. In the end, my father did not go. In 1989, someone tried to eliminate Azzam with an explosive device. The charge did not explode. In November of that year, Azzam was traveling with his two sons in a jeep on his way to Friday prayers when the killer remotely detonated an explosive device planted on the way. All three were killed. My mother described the news of Azzam’s death as the moment she lost my father once and for all. As a fundamentalist who believed that he was a living instrument for expressing the wrath of Allah, my father was looking for potential targets, and such were not lacking. Soon, my father discovered what his real call was: to murder Rabbi Meir Kahane.

Ebrahim’s description explains in an extraordinary way how a person born into a normative home becomes an extremist and a murderer in adulthood:

El Sayyid Nosair’s decision to leave his nation-state, Egypt, and emigrate to the United States to create a better life for himself, undoubtedly became the first reason he became extremist mainly because of the many differences between Egypt and the United States – Nosair expressed disgust with American culture.

There is a great chance that a person who lives in a place that does not match the education, culture, and religion he received at his parents’ home and in his nation-state, will look for a place that will remind him of this – this place is the mosque that El Sayyid Nosair started going to. In addition, he will look for another person, a leader, who will be able to follow him, who will show him the light, who will give him new hope – extremist religious preachers, like the blind sheikh and Azzam, are these same leaders, leaders who work and know-how to locate in the mosque “weak” people who are looking for themselves, who are looking for the right way for them in order to make them “disciplined” soldiers who will work for them – El Sayyid Nosair is from exactly the right group of people.

Why did El Sayyid Nosair choose to harm an Israeli personality?

The slogan of the preacher in the mosque, Azzam, was in the context of Afghanistan: “Jihad and the rifle alone – no negotiations, no documents, and no dialogues.”

The blind sheikh, on the other hand, came to America to form loyalists to global jihad, who not only demanded Afghanistan but sought to put an end, by all necessary means, to Israeli control of Palestine, funded and supported by the United States – Israel is the enemy of Islam.

The new leaders of El Sayyid Nosair have marked for him and for the rest of the believers the enemies to be fought, including Israel. In order to become an active and efficient soldier who would increase his value in the eyes of the leaders, El Sayyid decided to take action and try and harm Ariel Sharon but soon abandoned his plan probably because he realized he was a secure personality. In search of another goal, El Sayyid found Rabbi Meir Kahane.

How does a political personality become a target for the opponent?

Any person who chooses a political path and, in this context, makes himself an extremist due to his opinions and/or actions, increases the chance that he will accumulate enemies inside and outside the house. There is no doubt that the late Rabbi Meir Kahane fit the definition of an extremist politician in his views and actions over the years until the day of his assassination.

“A Jewish state means Jewish thinking and connections, means Jewish culture and a Jewish spirit in the Jewish public. But above all, it means Jewish sovereignty and Jewish control over its vocation. This can only be implemented within a permanent Jewish majority and its Arab minority. Robbers who robbed them of their land. The Arabs do not feel a binding connection or emotion towards a state

“A Jewish state means Jewish thinking and connections, means Jewish culture and a Jewish spirit in the Jewish public. But above all, it means Jewish sovereignty and Jewish control over its vocation. This can only be implemented within a permanent Jewish majority and its Arab minority. By the Arabs are sure that the Jews are robbers who robbed them of their land. The Arabs do not feel a binding connection or emotion towards a state whose soul is Jewish. And the Arabs are multiplying, in quantity and quality. They will demand a greater share of power; they will demand “autonomy” for different parts of the country. Soon they will threaten the existence of the Jewish majority with the Arab birthrate. The result: a bloody clash. If indeed we want to prevent such a development, there is only one way open before us: immediate transfer of the Arabs from the land of Israel to their lands. Since for Israel’s Arabs and Jews, there is only one solution. Separation. The Jews in their land, and the Arabs in their lands. Separation. Only separation.

There is no doubt that there was a conflict between the views of Rabbi Meir Kahane and the views of El Sayyid Nosair.

What was El Sayyid Nosair ‘s mindset?

As stated, El Sayyid Nosair chose Rabbi Meir Kahane as the appropriate target for the realization of his new mission as a global jihad fighter. In a letter he sent from prison in which he confessed to the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane, El Sayyid described: “In 1989 I began following Meir Kahane during his visits to the New York area. I attended two of his lectures in two synagogues, one in Long Island and one in Brooklyn. With Rabbi Kahane alone, in private, at least twice. I also spoke to him in public during the Q&A after the lecture. On November 5, 1990, I attended another of his lectures at a Manhattan hotel. At the end of the lecture, I shot Kahane and fled the hotel.”

Why did El Sayyid Nosair choose to assassinate Rabbi Meir Kahane during an event?

El Sayyid Nosair’s choice proves that the opponent chooses to carry out the assassination itself precisely during a public and political activity of the personality and instead of with an audience to increase the added value of his action by witnesses and photography and publicity in the various media. It is clear that during the surveillance he carried out, El Sayyid Nosair could have located Rabbi Kahane in a quieter and more convenient place to carry out the assassination, a place that would also have allowed him to shoot and disappear from the area. The assassin’s opponent is willing to risk his life or a long prison sentence just to show his religious leaders and other believers his action for jihad.

Would any person who finds himself in a negative and extreme environment choose to go that route?

Ebrahim, the son of El Sayyid Nosair, could have been exactly where his father found himself and yet chose a different path, the opposite and good one. In addition, he and his family chose to completely break away from the father of the family and even changed their name. Ebrahim spends part of his time delivering a lecture describing his past with his father and family.

In the act of assassination, El Sayyid Nosair revealed the way he turned from a normative person into an extremist assassin and his way of thinking and acting that included gathering intelligence and tracking the target, being able to assimilate in the target’s environment, being able to portray a different character and in the end to choose with the final act, shooting at close range in order to succeed in achieving the goal with high percentages – the murder of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane.

Can a personality, like the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, prevent and thwart an assassination attempt on him even though he is not a secure personality?

A personality with opinions and actions that are considered extreme must know that he or she is setting up rivals inside and outside the home. An unsecured personality who travels abroad can and should invest in security for him or herself, this can be security performed by professional personal security guards or unprofessional security but is visible by an assistant or the staff accompanying the personality – an assistant who has been trained to perform unarmed security operations In an environment close to the personality, emphasizing visibility that produces outward deterrence, can cause the opponent to choose not to carry out the assassination act.


Remember, “security needs to be maintained” in every way.

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