Suspected Mastermind of Jewish Terrorism to Be Released From Israeli Jail

Shin Bet won't extend Meir Ettinger's administrative detention when it expires, state prosecutor says; Ettinger is thought to be the leader of terrorist activities against Palestinians.

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Meir Ettinger, accused of being leader of violent Jewish underground, in Nazareth court, August 4, 2015.
Meir Ettinger, accused of being leader of violent Jewish underground, in Nazareth court, August 4, 2015.Credit: AFP
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

The Shin Bet security service's number one Jewish suspect of terrorism will be released from administrative detention later this month, state prosecutors said Tuesday.

According to the prosecutors, the Shin Bet security service will not ask to extend the administrative detention order against Meir Ettinger when it expires at the end of May.

Ettinger,the grandson of the slain far-right activist Meir Kahane, was detained following the murder of the Dawabsheh family in the West Bank village of Duma last July, and was placed in administrative detention for six months. His detention was later extended by a further four months.

The prosecutors told the Lod District Court that Ettinger will be released at the end of the month, and that an administrative order will be issued to restrict the people he can make contact with and the places he can reside in.

Following his detention, a judge noted that Ettinger encouraged acts of violence that harmed Israel's security, and that he organized a violent revolt aimed at toppling the state. 

In the original administrative detention order against Ettinger, Justice Avraham Tal noted that "according to intelligence information presented by the Shin Bet, in September 2013 Ettinger founded an organization that aimed to bring forward a violent revolt that would topple the Israeli state by carrying out acts that would hurt the state's weak points. The revolt was meant to include four stages – public relations, recruitment of activists, the uprising's breakout and the disturbances phase."

It was also claimed that Ettinger was personally involved in the arson of a home in Khirbet Abu Falah in the West Bank in November 2014. "The respondent's actions show the danger emanating from him and the organization that he headed and was the mastermind of Ettinger encouraged others to carry out violent acts that harmed state security and such acts were indeed acarried out."

The justice's decision shows that he was presented with at least 180 intelligence reports and an 82-pages Shin Bet review.

Ettinger's attorney, Yuval Zemer of the right-wing legal defense NGO Honenu, said at the end of the court discussion that "I'm very pleased that Mr. Ettinger's prolonged detention period has come to an end. It's sad to discover that in the State of Israel of 2016 a person can be placed in detention for 10 months solely because of his political views, even if they aren’t pleasing to all ears. I welcome the correct decision not to extend the detention again."

"It's too little, too late," he added.

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