Kahane’s problem was that he relied on democracy. He addressed religious Jews with one set of slogans, and secular ones―with a totally different set. Orthodox Jews wanted to hear from him about a halachic state, and secular Jews wanted to hear him bashing the Arabs. If he had ever risen to power, those two groups would have clashed. Kahane downplayed their differences by suggesting public observance only. That was nonsense: if no shops sell pork, then how can some enjoy it in in private? Sabbath wars would also have flared up, fed by the orthodox push for ever-increasing compliance with ever-stricter rules. In the end, I believe, the rabbi would have sided with the secular Jews simply because they are more numerous and aggressive than the orthodox crowd.

But the secular Jews’ hate goes nowhere. Suppose it takes two weeks to evict the Arabs; what’s next? Freeing the economy of bureaucratic ropes would be a great program for the middle class, but not for lower classes who are sufficiently intolerant to support expelling the Arabs. Thus, a month after coming to power Kahane would have lost both his religious and secular supporters. He would not have time to educate secular Israelis about the majesty of the Torah and the plain comfort of basic Jewish traditions before they started demanding increased redistribution and government jobs rather than Jewish values.

This underscores an immensely important point: revolutions are not accomplished by democratically supported rulers. Kahane’s only chance would have been to seize power by democratic means and switch to authoritarianism immediately thereafter. He would have had to suspend democratic process for a few decades until ultra-orthodoxy crashed and a new generation had been raised in the values of moderately observant Judaism.