(JTA) — The suspected Jewish terrorist arrested as part of the Shin Bet’s investigation of a firebombing that killed a Palestinian toddler will be held in custody for at least six days.
Officials said Tuesday that Meir Ettinger, a grandson of Meir Kahane born after the far-right Jewish extremist’s assassination, will stay in administrative detention until at least Sunday by order of a closed-door judicial proceeding, the Times of Israel reported.
Ettinger, who Israeli authorities believe oversees a Jewish terrorist group, was arrested Monday in the northern Israeli town of Safed. It was not clear whether he is a suspect in the firebombing or is being interrogated for information he might have that could lead to the perpetrators.
Judicial officials, including Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, decided Tuesday that subject to the approval of Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, they would authorize holding Ettinger and three other suspects without charge in administrative detention, a practice used almost exclusively for Palestinian terror suspects. The security Cabinet approved the general practice at an emergency meeting on Sunday responding to the firebombing of two Palestinian homes in the West Bank village of Duma.
Shin Bet officials have said Ettinger heads a movement that also was responsible for the June arson of the historic Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes and seeks to bring down the government and replace it with a Jewish theocracy.
Ettinger’s attorney, Yuval Zemer, claimed Tuesday that his client had been tortured in custody, but security officials denied the allegation, according to the Times of Israel.
Zemer also accused the Shin Bet of arresting Ettinger for “PR purposes” rather than for a real investigative reason.
Ettinger has previously led efforts to establish new and unauthorized West Bank settlements. The 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.
According to the Times of Israel, Ettinger in his 2013 “the rebel manifesto” called for bringing down the Israeli government by targeting the country’s “weak points” and firing “up these powder kegs … until we have a situation in which Jews must decide whether they are part of the revolution or part of the repression [of the rebellion].”