(JTA) — At least one of the three suspected Jewish terrorists facing administrative detention in Israel has American citizenship, his parents said.
Gedalia and Sarah Meyer, whose 18-year-old son, Mordechai, is in custody without being formally charged in the aftermath of the firebombing last week that killed a Palestinian toddler, referenced their family’s U.S. citizenship on Wednesday at a news conference at their West Bank home in Maale Adumim.
“We made aliyah from the United States to a democratic state,” Gedalia Meyer said, according to Ynet and the Times of Israel. “Our son was at home last week. They knocked on the door last night, showed a document stating that they were taking him to jail for six months without suspicion and without explanation. Suddenly. And now we find ourselves with our son in jail and do not know anything. We thought there were courts here.”
Sarah Meyer also referenced their American citizenship: “We are United States citizens and our children grew up there, in a democracy, among loving people and all our family is there. We raised the kids to love nature and all living beings. We had a good livelihood. We left everything due to our love for Israel, our children as well, and we are kind of shocked.”
Meyer was detained for six months without trial on Tuesday for his suspected involvement in the arson attack on the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes in June.
“They had to arrest someone, and [Mordechai] was the scapegoat,” Gedalia Meyer said.
Honenu, the legal aid organization that is representing Mordechai Meyer, accused the Israeli government of detaining him purely for political or public relations reasons and said, “We firmly object to the use of administrative detention against Jews.”
In Israel, administrative detention has historically been reserved primarily for Palestinian terror suspects.
Two other Jews placed in administrative detention this week were Eviatar Slonim and Meir Ettinger, grandson of the slain far-right activist Meir Kahane, an Israeli-American. It is unclear whether or not Ettinger also has American citizenship — his mother, Tova, Kahane’s daughter, made aliyah from the United States.