WHEN Baruch Marzel, head of the extreme anti-Arab Kach movement, goes underground to escape arrest, he takes a weapon with him.
Not a gun, like most of his fellow settlers. The Army took away his firearm license a long time ago, saying he could not be trusted. Instead, Mr. Marzel, who wears the trademark tangled black beard and knitted skullcap of the militant Jewish settler, packs a mobile phone.
That way he can stay in touch with the press as he tries to keep out of the way of the Army and police. They have been hunting him since the government launched its crackdown on Kach, the group to which Baruch Goldstein, the man who gunned down praying Palestinians on Friday, belonged.
From ``somewhere'' - he would not be more specific - and over a very poor connection that suggested his telephone battery might have been wearing down, Marzel railed to The Monitor about the ``Bolshevik government'' that Saturday issued an administrative detention order against him.
Such an order, generally used against Palestinians, allows up to six months' imprisonment without trial. ``Because they cannot do anything through the court system they are trying to shut our mouths like this,'' Marzel complained. ``It's an antidemocratic move.''
Kach officials are not known for their love of democracy. The party, founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane, was banned by the Israeli Supreme Court from contesting the 1988 and 1992 elections because of its openly racist stance: Kach advocates expelling all the 750,000 Arab citizens of Israel, as well as all Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories.
Kach probably has fewer than 100 militants, most of them living in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, like Marzel and Goldstein, or in the nearby town of Hebron.
They may not be there for long. Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres warned yesterday that ``we will not allow a small group of crazy people to kill our future, to kill our morale, to kill our prospects, or to kill a single person who is innocent.... We shall take away their weapons, and if necessary their right to remain where they are,'' he declared. Marzel, meanwhile, has few illusions that he will be able to stay out of police hands for very long. He said, before the line broke completely, ending the interview, that he planned to try to spend a few more days on the run ``to express my views to the media and to my friends, and then they will put me under arrest.''
Once in jail, he said, he will go on hunger strike.