'If Meir Ettinger joins Meretz, he'll be released'

Ettinger's lawyer claims state trying to 're-educate' the right-wing activist amid discussions to extend his detention by four months.

Yedidyah Ben Or ,

Meir Ettinger in court
Meir Ettinger in court

The Central District Court held a hearing Wednesday on right-wing activist Meir Ettinger, who has been on a hunger strike for 16 days after six months in administrative detention. 

Ettinger had his detention extended on Monday by an additional four months by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud). He has been held since last August 3rd without trial, charges or evidence against him. 

He is the grandson of former MK Rabbi Meir Kahane, who was assassinated by an Arab terrorist in 1990, and who called to transfer Arab residents out of Israel.

During the discussion Wednesday, the state requested the court approve the additional administrative order signed by Ya'alon. 

Judge Avraham Tal postponed the court's verdict on the request for three weeks until Tuesday, February 23. 

Ettinger's attorney, Yuval Zemer of the Honenu legal aid organization, argued the court should reject the administrative arrest order as the activist was jailed solely for his views. 

Zemer claimed the state is trying to "re-program" Ettinger through solitary confinement and other harsh conditions during his detention. 

"In the State of Israel in 2016, a man has been sitting in detention for six months because his views are not accepted by law enforcement authorities in Israel," Zemer blasted after the hearing. 

"They're seeking to extend his detention for four additional months, because after six months in detention, the 're-education' could not change his mind," he continued. "The question is when and what conditions would indicate he's changed his position." 

"Maybe if he joined Meretz, for example, it would lead to him being released from detention?" pondered Zemer.