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Israel frees Jewish extremist from 10-month detention

June 1, 2016

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel on Wednesday freed a Jewish extremist detained 10 months ago amid a security crackdown on extremists following an arson attack in which a Palestinian toddler was burned to death.

Meir Ettinger was arrested last year, shortly after the deadly arson of a West Bank home that killed three people, including the toddler. He was detained without trial or charge, under a measure called administrative detention, which Israel typically uses on Palestinians suspected of militant activity.

A number of extremists were arrested in the sweep, with one man and a minor eventually charged for the West Bank arson.

The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, declined to say why Ettinger was being released. In an email, it said he was banned from entering the West Bank for a year and barred from contacting certain radical activists for six months, among other conditions for his release.

The 24-year-old Ettinger is the grandson of U.S.-born Rabbi Meir Kahane, Israel’s most notorious Jewish extremist, whose ultranationalist party was banned from Israel’s parliament for its racist views in 1988. He was killed by an Arab gunman in New York in 1990.

Ettinger has been accused of heading an extremist movement seeking to bring about religious “redemption” through attacks on Christian sites and Palestinian property. Sima Cohav, a lawyer for Ettinger, denied the allegations, saying Ettinger was “not involved in anything.”

Jamal Dajani, a spokesman for the Palestinian government said Ettinger “will be now allowed to roam free and put Palestinian lives in danger.”


Associated Press writer Mohammed Daraghmeh contributed to this report from Ramallah, West Bank.


This story has been corrected to show that Ettinger is not a settler.