Far-right activist Ettinger to be released from administrative detention

Meir Ettinger was originally arrested in August following the Duma arson attack.

May 17, 2016 16:22
3 minute read.
Meir Ettinger

Meir Ettinger attends a remand hearing at the Magistrate’s Court in Nazareth.. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


After 10 months in administrative detention, far-right activist Meir Ettinger will be released June 1, according to a statement by the state to Lod District Court President Avraham Tal on Tuesday.

Ettinger, and two other far-right activists, Evyatar Slonim and Mordechai Meir, were detained together in August. But Meir was released on January 3 and Slonim was also released in early February, leaving only Ettinger.

The three were arrested in August following the Duma terrorist arson, in which most of the Palestinian Dawabsha family was burned to death.

In a statement explaining its stance on the issue, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said “the administrative detention order of Meir Ettinger was set to expire on June 1, 2016.”

According to the statement, as the expiration date approached, it was decided not to extend the detention and to release Ettinger, subject to other administrative limits, which will reduce “the danger he presents at this time.”

The statement added that they would continue to evaluate the remaining unspecified limits on Ettinger and would make them stricter or more lenient, based on his conduct and an ongoing evaluation.

Attorney Yuval Zamar, from the organization Honenu, responded to the decision saying “it is too little, too late.”

However, he said he is also “very happy that the extremely long detention of Mr. Ettinger is coming to a close, but very sad to learn that in the State of Israel in 2016, a human being can be detained for 10 months” without being charged.

He said Ettinger was detained “solely for his political views, which are not pleasing to the ears of various groups.”

The Jerusalem Post has learned that the decision to release Ettinger at the end of his second detention period was made while taking into account court supervision of the process as well as balancing competing priorities of civil liberties and the security necessity.

Various authorities were asked about the seeming glaring contradiction that only a few weeks ago Ettinger was considered too dangerous to get a temporary release to attend his son’s circumcision, but suddenly now he is less dangerous and can be released.

On the record, all the Justice Ministry would say was “the position of the state in the differing proceedings was determined according to professional opinions of all the relevant authorities.”

However, the Post has learned that the two decisions, about how dangerous Ettinger is and what to do with him, were different in large part because of the mix of agencies, and the fact that their emphases in the proceedings were different.

For example, even as the Justice Ministry and the Shin Bet are consistently involved, the temporary release of a prisoner to attend a family event might give greater weight to the Prisons Service opinion. In contrast, the broader decision about whether to extend administrative detention for an additional period might give greater weight to the Defense Ministry’s opinion.

It is also notable that his second detention order was issued by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon for four months in the first place instead of the standard six months. This is often an indication from courts and the authorities that they are near the end of approving further extensions, though some Palestinian terrorists have remained in administrative detention for years.

In mid-August, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, with the legal approval of then-attorney-general Yehuda Weinstein, took the extremely unusual measure of placing all three far-right activists in administrative detention, with the Lod District Court in September upholding the order until at least February.

Although hundreds of Palestinians can find themselves in administrative detention for terrorism-related allegations at any given time, it has been years since the measure was used against Jews.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

An Israeli air force F-15 fighter jet flies during an exhibition as part of a graduation ceremony
March 26, 2019
Air Force hits targets in Gaza after 30 rockets pound Israel