Assassination of Meir Kahane

Coordinates: 40°45′20″N 73°58′22″W / 40.75556°N 73.97278°W / 40.75556; -73.97278
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Assassination of Meir Kahane
Part of terrorism in the United States
Location525 Lexington Avenue
New York Marriott East Side, Manhattan, New York City
Coordinates40°45′20″N 73°58′22″W / 40.75556°N 73.97278°W / 40.75556; -73.97278
Date5 November 1990
(18 Cheshvan 5751)
Shortly after 9:00 p.m. (EST)
TargetMeir Kahane
Weapons.357-caliber pistol[1]
Deaths1 (Meir Kahane)
Injured3 (1 bystander, 1 police officer, the perpetrator)
PerpetratorEl Sayyid Nosair
MotiveIslamic extremism
The monument built in memory of Meir Kahane, in Kahane Park, in the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba, in the West Bank

Meir Kahane, an Israeli American rabbi and ultranationalist politician, was assassinated by El Sayyid Nosair on 5 November 1990 at the New York Marriott East Side hotel in Manhattan, New York City.


On the evening of 5 November 1990, Kahane gave a speech in the second-floor lecture hall of the New York Marriott East Side hotel, in Manhattan, at 525 Lexington Avenue, to an audience, most of whom were Orthodox Jews. After his speech, a crowd of well-wishers gathered around Kahane as he answered questions. Shortly after 9:00 p.m., a man disguised as an Orthodox Jew approached Kahane and shot him from close range with a .357-caliber pistol.[1] Kahane was hit in the neck by the gunfire and died of his wounds shortly thereafter.[2][3][4]

After shooting Kahane, the assassin fled from the hotel and reached Lexington Avenue, where, in front of a post office, he attempted to take over a taxi at gunpoint. Carlos Acosta, an on-duty postal police officer, drew his pistol and ordered the assassin to freeze.[1] Instead, the assassin turned toward the officer and shot and hit him in the chest. The officer returned fire, hitting the assassin in the chin. Afterwards, the officer arrested the man. Born in Egypt, he was American citizen El Sayyid Nosair, who had been living in Jersey City, New Jersey.[1]

At the time, it was believed that Nosair's assassination of Kahane was an antisemitic hate crime. In subsequent years, however, Nosair's actions have been re-evaluated as one of the earliest examples of Islamic terrorism in the United States.[5][6][7]

Prosecution of Nosair

Nosair was charged with the murder of Kahane. During the legal proceedings, Nosair denied all charges against him. Although there were witnesses who identified Nosair as the assassin, Nosair was not convicted of Kahane's assassination, in part because Kahane's family had opposed the performing of an autopsy after the assassination and the extracting of the bullets. However, Nosair was convicted of assault, possession of an illegal firearm, and of shooting a United States Postal Inspection Service agent. Nosair was sentenced to 22 years of imprisonment, the maximum allowed.[8]

Conspiracy to free Nosair from prison

Nosair was to serve his sentence at Attica Correctional Facility, in New York. In 1993, the "Blind Sheikh," Omar Abdel-Rahman, was arrested in New York. An investigation later revealed that a terrorist cell, led by Abdel-Rahman, conducted detailed surveillance of Attica facilities and that it had discussed plans to use a truck bomb attack, combined with an armed assault, to rescue Nosair from prison.[9][10]

Nosair's confession of Kahane's assassination

Several years after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Nosair made a confession to federal agents of assassinating Kahane.[11]

Possible accomplices

In August 2010, the Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post, which, in turn, quoted from the mid-August issue of Playboy, claimed that Nosair had two partners and that his original target was Israeli military figure and future Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "He added that on the night he shot Kahane dead, he was accompanied by two co-conspirators to the Marriot Hotel in Manhattan where Kahane was speaking – one of whom was also carrying a gun. The men, Bilal al-Kaisi of Jordan and Mohammed A. Salameh, a Palestinian illegal alien later involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, have never been charged for their part in the slaying."[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d McQuiston, John T. (6 November 1990). "Kahane Is Killed After Giving Talk in New York Hotel". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  2. ^ Juergensmeyer, Mark (2003). Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence. University of California Press. p. 59.
  3. ^ Hamm, Mark S. (2007). Terrorism as Crime: From Oklahoma City to Al-Qaeda and Beyond. NYU Press, p. 29
  4. ^ Specter, Michael (6 November 1990). "Jewish Leader Kahane Slain in New York". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  5. ^ Ganor, Boaz (16 December 2018). "Terrorism or hate crime?". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  6. ^ Ebrahim, Zak; Giles, Jeff (4 September 2014). "I Grew Up the Son of an Islamic Jihadist". Time. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  7. ^ "An early Islamic terrorist in the U.S." Los Angeles Times. May 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  8. ^ Sullivan, Ronald (30 January 1992). "Judge Gives Maximum Term in Kahane Case". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  9. ^ Burton, Fred; Stewart, Scott (18 June 2008). "The Destruction of Sarposa". Stratfor Worldview. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  10. ^ O'Grady, Jim (23 September 2020). "The Sheikh". WNYC Studios. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  11. ^ a b Stern, Gil; Shefler, Stern (15 August 2010). "'Sharon was Kahane killer's target'". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 7 December 2020.

External links