Stop slandering hilltop youth and let Meir Ettinger go
Another four weeks of detention without any criminal charges? What is going on here?
Meir Ettinger, the grandson of the late Rabbi Meir Kahana Hy”d, has been on a hunger strike for over two weeks, during which time he lost consciousness. Ettinger is trying to bring attention to his unjust incarceration under the rule of administrative detention.
His six month detention recently expired, and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon slapped him with another four months, without charging him with any crime. Meir is sitting in isolation in perhaps one of the highest security prisons in Israel, surrounded by Arab terrorists who threaten daily to kill him.
The government has not brought any charges against Meir. Since that is the case, one can only conclude that they just don’t like his world view and powerful writing (for an example of his writing, click here). They justify his continued detention with a law called Administrative Detention.
There are so many beautiful things to say about the communities of Judea and Samaria, the same communities that nurtured the hilltop youth like Meir Ettinger.
It is crucial that we stop the slander of Meir Ettinger and the hilltop youth of Samaria. The situation has spiraled out of control into a situation resembling a blood libel.
This is a tactic used by those who oppose the philosophy of the Hilltop youth.
If the government creates an atmosphere of hatred and fear of these youth, they feel that they are not beholden to give them a fair and just trial. This kind of negative slander makes it easier for the courts and the Shabak to justify torture to obtain false confessions. It condones the continued incarceration of Meir Ettinger and others like him without accusing him of any crime.
It is incumbent upon us all to demand that Meir Ettinger be given a fair trial or released.
In the meanwhile, we need to counter the blood libel with truthful and positive speech, instead of bad-mouthing.
There are so many positive things to say about these youth, although some are anti-establishment and others did not find their places in our Religious Zionist school system. They are beautiful young people. They are idealistic. They love the land of Israel with all their heart and soul. They love the Torah and they love their fellow Jew. They are hardworking kids who have learned the professions of building construction, organic farming and shepherding. They lead wholesome, simple lives. Many of them have experienced serious trauma, being brutally thrown out of their homes by the government while living in Gush Katif and in the Shomron.
Currently, in the Shomron, they are subjected to Arab terror on a daily basis and on top of that, harassment by the Israeli Police. Instead of being appreciated for their idealism, they are being framed by the Shabak and slandered in the press as being “violent Jewish terrorists”.
The government has been lax about their security and the security of the nearby Jewish communities. Jews today residing in Judea and Samaria are in some respects treated as second class citizens living under military rule of law. They do not have the same rights as other Jews or even Arabs. Arabs build illegally yet in comparison, significantly fewer such homes are demolished.
Arab youth are engaged in a knife Intifada, they continuously throw rocks and firebombs as well as shoot at innocent Israelis, while Jews have been interrogated excessively and their weapons confiscated when they try to defend themselves.
Jewish Hilltop Youth live under terrible scrutiny, under constant surveillance, as if they were the ones who were perpetrating hundreds of terror attacks weekly.This treatment has alienated them from the mainstream. Their own rabbis and the government officials continually join the criticism, perhaps to avoid losing their own standing in the government. Their communities are infested with ISA agents, and many hilltop youth have been placed under house arrest, some incarcerated and tortured under administrative detention.
This surely doesn’t help these kids to trust or appreciate the establishment.
Meir Ettinger is a selfless Jew whose only concern is for the people of Israel. He loves Jews, he loves Torah and he loves Eretz Yisrael. He, as many of the settlers, wishes to actualize yearnings of the Jewish people for a government that is governed according to the Torah.
His ideology threatens those who have power and control over the settlers in Judea and Samaria and those whose power and influence would be diminished as a result of his views. Ideology is not necessarily action and if no illegal actions can be proven, why is he in jail?
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon recently ordered a continuation of Ettinger’s incarceration in administrative detention for another four months. In a deliberation that took place at the Central Court in Lod, Judge Avraham Tal postponed the decision until February 14 (Adar 1).
During the deliberation, Honenu Attorney Yuval Zemer, who is representing Ettinger, pleaded that the request to authorize the order be rejected, as the detention order was served to him only because of his views. Zemer claims that the State is attempting to re-educate Ettinger by means of detention and placing him in solitary confinement under harsh conditions.
“In the State of Israel in the year 2016, a man has sat in remand for half a year because his opinions are not acceptable to the law enforcement authorities in Israel,” said Honenu Attorney Yuval Zemer after the deliberation. “[The State] has requested that the remand be extended by four months, because after six months in remand, the “re-education” has not succeeded in changing his opinions.”
It is time to turn the tables and call a spade a spade. Branding hilltop youth as a terrorist group is nothing short of a blood libel. It is certain that our enemies, engaged in media warfare and hostile press, blow such libelous slander out of proportion and then, the “Jewish hilltop terrorists” persona morph into simply Israelis and then Jewish terrorists.
Israel then ponders why the world is slandering Israel with all kinds of lies and false reports of Palestinians living under constant terror under the “Israeli occupation.”
When will we comprehend that had we not fueled the false reports against the Hilltop Youth, it never would have mushroomed into a full grown blood libel against ourselves and the entire Jewish nation?
Bringing false testimony is one of the violations of the 10 commandments. Torturing someone to bring false testimony against himself is unconscionable.
Elisha Odess, 18, gave a false confession to a crime he did not commit because of torture by the Shabak. Amiram Ben Uliel, 21, emphasized that he confessed to make them stop torturing him.
Who will now take Shabak and the Defense Minister and the Courts to court for torturing, slandering and traumatizing innocent youth?
One could argue that we should just release the suspects and forget about it. But these are major crimes. Torturing and traumatizing innocent people should never be conveniently forgotten. It is imperative for the healing process of the victims that justice be served. It is equally important for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. They must be held accountable! This is vital if we are to live in a just democratic ethical society.
If Shabak behaved in such a cruel, despicable, illegal way to force suspects to confess to crimes that they did not commit under the legal umbrella and sanction of the Attorney General, we can logically assume that they have done so at other times.
Since reports of torture by the Shabak of innocent Jewish youth have become public, these branches of government have largely lost credibility and all their indictments are now suspect.
Why is this happening?
Netanyahu and Yaalon as leaders of the Israeli government, are continuing to advance the Peace Process and are under intense International pressures to act against Israel’s better interests. In this process, Israel may feel that it must libel itself in order to come up with proof that Jewish terror exists among Jewish kids, and not only Arab kids.
This evidence is crucial because the Two State Solution is built on the premise that we are working with two civilized societies trying to establish peace. If you only have one civilized society and the other is clearly an uncivilized brutal society, where teens are committing acts of terror glorified by their culture, the foundation of the Two State Solution illusion will collapse like the Hamas tunnels.
Since the rampant murderous terror attacks upon Israeli civilians – by young Arabs – is not something one can hide, the second best option to balance the scale is to somehow show that neither society is very civilized and that they each have their terrorists.
So Israel has lumped the idealistic Jewish hilltop youth together for use as political scapegoats and pawns.
It is time to stop the libel. Stop the lies about our best youth. Stop the false labeling of our most idealistic youth as terrorists. Get real. There are no Jewish terrorist organizations and no comparison between cruel young Arab murderers and knifers and the Hilltop youth.