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Dov Levin; Israeli Judge Disqualified Kahane's Kach Party

July 02, 2001

Dov Levin, 76, the former Israel Supreme Court justice who made headlines in 1988 when he disqualified the hard-line Kach party from parliamentary elections, died June 28 in a Tel Aviv hospital after a long illness.

In ruling against Kach, headed by American-born Rabbi Meir Kahane, Levin found that the party's platform was racist.

That same year, Levin headed a panel of lower-court judges that convicted John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian-born American citizen, of being "Ivan the Terrible," a sadistic guard in charge of the gas chambers at the Treblinka death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. That ruling, however, was later overturned by the country's Supreme Court.

Born in Tel Aviv, Levin joined the British police as a civilian employee during the last years of colonial rule. At the same time, he joined the Irgun Zvai Leumi, a hard-line underground group opposed to British rule.

After serving as an officer in the Israeli army during the 1948 war with the Arabs, he qualified as a lawyer in 1951 and became a magistrate in 1966. He served on the Supreme Court from 1982 until retiring in 1995.

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