JERUSALEM (JTA) – A right wing Jewish extremist, who has been held in administrative detention since August, has gone on a hunger strike to protest his detention.
Meir Ettinger, the grandson of the slain far-right activist Meir Kahane, was arrested on August 3 and placed in detention on August 15.
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein approved the order for a six-month detention issued by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon against Ettinger. The Lod District Court in mid-September upheld the order.
Under administrative detention, which is more commonly used for Palestinian prisoners, one can be held for six months without being charged or tried. The order can be renewed indefinitely.
Israeli authorities believe Ettinger oversees a Jewish terrorist group. He was arrested for “involvement in violent activities and terrorist attacks that occurred recently, and his role as part of a Jewish terrorist group,” and his arrest was linked to the firebombing of a home in the West Bank Palestinian village of Duma that left an infant and his parents dead. Three people, including two minors, have been charged in connection with that attack.
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 reportedly was recently transferred to solitary confinement and has limited, monitored contact with his family.
Ettinger does not have American citizenship. His mother, Tova, Kahane’s daughter, made aliyah from the United States.