Meir Ettinger
Meir EttingerBasel Awidat/Flash 90

Be'er Sheva district court judge Yisrael Pablo Axelrod on Sunday rejected the petition to release Meir Ettinger from his administrative detention for several hours on Monday so as to attend the brit milah (circumcision) of his firstborn son.

Ettinger has been held for the past eight months without trial or charges against him on administrative orders, a relic from the British Mandate which has almost exclusively been used against Arab terror suspects.

The Israeli Security Agency (ISA) and the Israel Prison Services (IPS) opposed Ettinger's release for the brit, even if he was accompanied by prison guards which is a measure common even among prisoners who are accused or convicted of serious crimes, such as those serving life sentences for murder.

By contrast, Ettinger is being imprisoned in extreme conditions of solitary confinement and is not being allowed any phone calls except to several close family members, even though there has been no evidence or indictment presented against him for any crime.

IPS authorities proposed having the brit milah held in the prison, instead of approving the common step of letting Ettinger out under guard.

Attorney Sima Kochav of the Honenu legal aid organization, who submitted the petition to have Ettinger let out for the brit last Thursday and is representing him, said the group intends to petition the Be'er Sheva court's decision to the Supreme Court.

"We regret the decision and are disappointed by it," said Kochav. "There are really hard feelings here that the sources tasked with approving the release did not act with clean hands, and they are pursuing Meir Ettinger."

"It is important to emphasize that this is an administrative detainee and not a criminal prisoner," she added.

"Dangerous criminal prisoners go out on vacations and Meir Ettinger is behind lock and key without an indictment submitted against him, only for his ideological positions and not for a specific danger he poses, and therefore there is no reason to prevent his release to the brit milah."

On Saturday night around 30 of Ettinger's family members protested at the iconic Chords Bridge in Jerusalem, demanding that he be let out for the brit.