Jewish extremist to be freed Wednesday with conditions
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Jewish extremist to be freed Wednesday with conditions

Meir Ettinger will be slapped with nighttime house arrest, ban on entering Jerusalem, West Bank and Yad Binyamin

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Alleged head of a Jewish extremist group Meir Ettinger appears in the Magistrate's Court in Nazareth Illit, August 4, 2015. (AP/Ariel Schalit)
Alleged head of a Jewish extremist group Meir Ettinger appears in the Magistrate's Court in Nazareth Illit, August 4, 2015. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

House arrest during the night, restricted movement, and a ban on contact with 92 individuals are among the conditions to be imposed on the extremist Meir Ettinger, whose release after 10 months of detention without charges is expected Wednesday.

The grandson of assassinated far-right rabbi Meir Kahane, Ettinger has been described by police as the leader of a Jewish underground bent on turning Israel into a theocracy. He is considered a leading, radical member of Israel’s “hilltop youth,” young people who move to settlement outposts, resist soldiers’ attempts to evacuate them, and have been known to carry out hate crimes on Palestinian, Christian and Israeli targets.

He was the first suspect to be arrested after a rash of extremist attacks on Palestinians and other non-Jews in Israel and the West Bank last year, notably the torching of The Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes at Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee in June and the firebombing murder in July of a baby and his parents in the Palestinian village of Duma.

Ettinger has been held without charges or trial — what is known in Israel as administrative detention — since August. In January, he was said to have lost consciousness during a hunger strike. His term was extended in February.

A priest inspects the damage caused to the Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha, on the Sea of Galilee, in northern Israel, which was set on fire in what police suspect was an arson attack, on June 18, 2015. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)
A priest inspects the damage caused to the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes at Tabgha, on the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel, which was set on fire in what police suspect was an arson attack, on June 18, 2015. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Under administrative detention — an anti-terror measure more commonly used against Palestinians — suspects can be held for six months without being charged or tried. The order can be renewed indefinitely.

The conditions for Ettinger’s release will ban him from going to Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the central Israeli community of Yad Binyamin, home to many former settlers evacuated by Israel from Gaza in 2005.

A statement from security services said the conditions impose the restrictions necessary to “reduce the threat that he represents at this time.” The restrictions will be reviewed and either lightened or tightened according to Ettinger’s behavior, the statement said.

Ettinger’s lawyer Sima Kochav, of Honenu, a legal organization that defends right-wing extremists, said the continuation of administrative measures against her client caused “unreasonable harm to his freedom, respect and family” and reflected “a real dictatorship” and the “trampling of civil rights.”

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