Meir Ettinger attends a remand hearing at the Magistrate’s Court in Nazareth..
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
Although the High Court denied suspected Jewish terrorist and administrative detainee Meir Ettinger a temporary leave from Eshel Prison to attend his firstborn son’s brit mila, the celebrations at the event Monday were nonetheless raucous and the mood upbeat. Ettinger, 24, has been held without charge for nearly eight months.
Following Judge Israel Pablo Akselrad’s rejection of Ettinger’s appeal on Sunday, his wife Moriah invited the general public to the celebration. Some 200 people accepted the invitation to the event which was held in Jerusalem’s Sha’arei Hessed neighborhood. The dancing was wild, the beat from the drums rhythmic, and the unkempt side locks typical of the hard-right youth and settler activists were flying in all directions at the party following the ritual circumcision and baby naming.
The brit mila was performed in the presence of a veritable who’s who of Israel’s extremist right, including spiritual leader Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg, Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich, extremist leader of the radical Lehava anti-assimilation and anti-missionary organization Rabbi Bentzi Gopstein, and hard-line Temple Mount activist Noam Federman.
It was to Ginsburg, a radical figure with far-right views revered by settler activists, that the religious honor of sandak, or godfather, was given.
Ginsburg was indicted in 2003 for incitement to racism for comments he made to the media praising Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 29 Palestinians at Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs in 1994, although the charges were eventually dropped after he issued a statement of clarification.
The rabbi has a series of other extremist comments and publications to his name.
Ettinger’s son was named Netzah Benjamin, after his uncle Rabbi Benjamin Ze’ev Kahane, the leader of the far-right Kahane Chai political party, who was killed along with his wife, in a terror attack in 2000.
Ettinger, who has been under administrative detention for close to eight months, is himself the grandson of the far-right leader Rabbi Meir Kahane, who founded Kach, the predecessor of Kahane Chai, and who was assassinated on November 5, 1990.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post
after the circumcision party, Ginsburg accused the Supreme Court of being “closed off” and “afraid” by not allowing Ettinger to attend the brit mila ceremony.
“It shows that there is fear of the truth, that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people,” said the rabbi.
“The Jewish people are going out from exile and grief, and there is a fear of this,” he asserted.
Evidence of the militant attitude prevalent at the event was readily noticeable by the radical messages printed on the T-shirts of many of the young attendees, such as “Jews buy from Jews,” “Hebrew labor is true love of one’s fellow Jew,” “Jews, let’s be victorious,” and similar slogans.
Netanel, a young man who came to the brit to support the Ettinger family, deplored the decision of the High Court and of Ettinger’s administrative detention, and said that the institution, and other components of the state was “rotten” and needed to be disposed of.
“The High Court is a mafia. They do whatever they feel like. They don’t even adhere to their own laws,” he averred.
“They want to take control here. They think it will help them if they make a dictatorship here, but it won’t help them. The truth will be victorious in the end,” continued Netanel, who used to live in an unauthorized outpost near the settlement of Mitzpe Yeriho until the dwelling was destroyed and he was forcibly evacuated by the security services.
“His grandfather [Kahane] was active in trying to fix things, the Supreme Court, the government, everything that is rotten here. If you have a rotten tomato what do you do? You throw it away, because if you don’t it will make everything else rotten. Rabbi Kahane tried to deal with this, but it’s not easy. They’re holding on strongly.”