Israel Court Extends Detention of Extremist Jewish Leader

Meir Ettinger, the head of a Jewish extremist group, stands at the Israeli justice court in Nazareth Illit on August 4, 2015. (Via Ma'an, agencies)

An Israeli court Tuesday ordered the head of a Jewish extremist group to be kept in detention after his arrest following the burning to death of a Palestinian baby, judicial sources said.

The court in Nazareth, northern Israel, prolonged the incarceration of Meir Ettinger until at least Sunday, the sources said.

Ettinger, whose grandfather Meir Kahane founded the racist anti-Palestinian movement Kach, was arrested on Monday “because of his activities in a Jewish extremist organisation”, a spokesman for the Shin Bet internal security service told AFP.

Israeli police said Ettinger, who is aged around 20, was suspected of “nationalist crimes” but did not accuse him of direct involvement in last week’s firebombing of a Palestinian home in the occupied West Bank, in which a toddler was burned to death.

Media reports said Ettinger could face a year of “administrative detention” under the government’s harder line against “Jewish terrorists.”

Israel normally applies the measure against Palestinians, allowing renewable six-month periods of detention without trial, but it can now be used with Jewish detainees in cases of insufficient evidence to go to trial or if the suspect refuses to testify, officials said on Monday.

On his blog, Ettinger has in past days denied the existence of an underground Jewish organisation, but has defended attacks on “crimes” such as the existence of churches and mosques branded as “places of pagan worship.”

The Shin Bet spokesman said Ettinger was in January barred from entering the occupied West Bank or East Jerusalem for a year “because of his activities.”

(Agencies and Ma’an – www.maannews.net)

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