Meir Ettinger attends a remand hearing at the Magistrate’s Court in Nazareth..
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) feels sufficiently confident it has managed to repel and restrain the threat of Jewish terrorism, thus allowing itself not to ask the court to extend Meir Ettinger’s administrative detention.
Ettinger will be released from jail in two weeks, under restrictions limiting the people he can meet with and preventing him from being in the West Bank.
The 25-year-old right-wing activist is considered by the Shin Bet as the military and spiritual leader of the group “Rebellion,” named after a manifesto it had published. In that text it calls to rebel against the State of Israel and replace it with a Jewish theocratic monarchy.
Ettinger is the grandson of the slain racist Meir Kahane, founder of the Jewish Defense League and a former MK, who was gunned down in 1990 in a Manhattan hotel by a Palestinian Islamist.
Rebellion is suspected of being behind most of the terrorist, violent and racist attacks directed against Palestinians and mosques and churches in the West Bank and in Israel. The most horrific atrocity attributed to the organization was the burning alive of three members of the Dawabshe family in Duma in July last year.
As a result of that attack, the Shin Bet and the government realized that harsher measures had to be taken against Ettinger and his followers. The investigation led to the arrest of suspects in the murder and in other incidents, including the arson at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish at the Sea of Galilee in June of last year.
Ettinger was arrested, and since the Shin Bet either didn’t have clear-cut evidence about his involvement in the terrorist acts or couldn’t produce evidence that would be admissible in court, or didn’t want to reveal intelligence sources and methods and asked the court agree to put him under administrative detention.
His arrest began in mid-August. The decision not to ask to extend his detention is based on operational and legal considerations.
The Shin Bet believes the pursuit after the suspected Jewish terrorists – their arrest, interrogations, detentions, indictments and detentions – set a major blow to the organization. Indeed the number of incidents dropped dramatically in recent months.
Under such circumstances, legally speaking – considering the checks and balances between democracy and security – it was problematic for the Shin Bet to ask to extend Ettinger’s administrative detention. In the final judgment it was decided not to ask to renew his detention.
Nevertheless, Ettinger is still considered to be the No. 1 Jewish right-wing activist who has to be watched. Resilient and determined he has not given up his anti-state, anti-Zionist, anti-Palestinian racist vision.