(JTA) — In the aftermath of a deadly firebombing in a West Bank Palestinian village believed to have been perpetrated by Jewish terrorists, Israel’s Shin Bet arrested its most wanted Jewish terrorist suspect.
Meir Ettinger, 24, a grandson of the late militant far-right leader Rabbi Meir Kahane, according to Haaretz, was arrested Monday in the northern Israeli town of Safed. Shin Bet officials told the French news agency AFP that it was interrogating Ettinger “because of his activities in a Jewish extremist organization.”
It was not clear whether he is a suspect in Friday’s firebombing, which killed a Palestinian toddler and severely injured his family. However, officials said Ettinger was being interrogated for information that could help find the perpetrator of the bombing in Duma.
Haaretz reported that Ettinger tops the Shin Bet’s list of most wanted Jewish suspects. He was believed to have been planning a series of attacks against Palestinians intended to stir up unrest among the Palestinians and bring down the Israeli government.
Shin Bet sought to put Ettinger under administrative detention in 2014, according to Haaretz, but state prosecutor Shai Nitzan denied the request, instead barring Ettinger from Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Last week, Haaretz reported that the Shin Bet accused Ettinger of leading an underground group responsible for the arson attack on the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in June, a charge Ettinger denied on his blog.
In his post, Ettinger denied the existence of a Jewish underground but wrote there are “lots and lots of Jews, many more than one might think, whose value system is very different than that of the High Court of Justice or the Shin Bet, and the laws that bind them are not the laws of the state … but rather laws that are much more eternal.”
Kahane, who was assassinated in 1990, inspired the creation of Israel’s outlawed Kahane Chai (Kach) party.