The State will not request an extension of the administrative detention of Meir Ettinger, the right-wing Jewish activist currently being held without charge since last year.
Ettinger’s attorney reported that at a court hearing today (Tuesday), the Shin Bet security service told the judge they would not be applying to extend his detention again.
As a result, Ettinger will be freed on June 1, when his current administrative detention order expires.
Ettinger has been held without charge for more than nine months, most of which he has spent in solitary confinement.
He was arrested in August 2015 as part of an investigation into the deadly firebombing of a Palestinian house in the village of Duma, but was never actually charged in connection with the attack.
Despite that, he and another activist Evyatar Slonim, who has since been released without charge – were placed under administrative detention several days later, after the Shin Bet claimed they posed an imminent security risk.
Two other Jewish extremists have since been indicted over the Duma attack, and are currently awaiting trial.
One of a large number of nationalist activists arrested or confined to house arrest at the time, the Shin Bet accused Ettinger of being the leader of an extremist collective nicknamed “The Revolt,” which had distributed instructions on how to attack Arab and other targets as a way to implode the democratic State of Israel and establish a Jewish monarchy in its place.
“The Revolt” was the title of a pamphlet agents found circulating among Jewish extremists, which among other things instructed how to carry out firebombings against Palestinian homes.
However, Ettinger’s supporters note he was never formally charged with any offense – the author of that booklet has since been identified and jailed – and accused authorities of persecuting the activist purely for his beliefs.
His family and supporters also say the fact that Ettinger is a grandson of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane – a controversial nationalist activist and MK assassinated in 1990, who called for the transfer of Arabs out of Israel – has led to him being targeted automatically despite him having no proven ties to Duma or any other attack.
During his detention, Ettinger’s attorneys allege he was subjected to near-unprecedentedly harsh measures, including “advanced interrogation” techniques and solitary confinement.
Earlier this year, Ettinger was controversially denied the right to attend his firstborn son’s circumcision, provoking outrage even beyond his base of supporters and prompting an appeal by Israel’s Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi.