Meir Ettinger will finally be allowed to go home after being released from an ordeal which stole from him over nine months of his youth. Meir was detained, arrested, held without charges or even suspicions of having committed any crime beyond holding political views outside of those considered rational and safe by people in the Shin Bet security police and is a member of groups of young dreamers calling themselves “The Hilltop Youth,” a name which they may have taken due to media labelling them as a disruptive group known for camping on hilltops overlooking Jewish settlements and known rock throwing vantage points. Meir was arrested without charge back in August of 2015 during the investigation into the deadly firebombing of a Palestinian house in the village of Duma. Subsequent to Meir Ettinger’s arrest two others were charged with having committed the crime but that did not affect Meir’s detention. Despite all of this, Meir Ettinger and Evyatar Slonim, who has since been released without charge, were placed under administrative detention as being a security risk though for what they posed such a risk was never released nor were they charged with any criminal act or intent of criminal act. Meir spent much of this time in solitary confinement, a mental strain and a form of punishment which has left lesser individuals permanently scarred and some even driven insane. The Shin Bet accused Ettinger of being the leader of an extremist collective nicknamed “The Revolt.” Meir was amongst a large dragnet of nationalist youths with whom the left leaning leadership of the Shin Bet and other agencies of the government, a shadow enforcement arm of such a self-serving security police with obvious extra-judicial powers, all in the hopes of cracking members of these idealist activist youth and getting their suspected criminal. That some were detained even after they presumably got their confessions, Meir was chosen for particular treatment.
What exactly was Meir Ettinger’s criminal intent? He desires a stronger and more self-believing Israel which faces down threats from forces he sees as evil and claims all of the lands promised between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. He would like to see the Temple rebuilt in its proper place and the return of Davidic Rule, the monarchy, something we pray for three times every day right after we pray to rebuild Jerusalem. He and any friends have never been shown, let alone proven, to house any thoughts of revolt against the elected government and only wishes for some changes that they see as necessary. Meir desires better protection for the citizens of Israel from terrorist acts with the rock throwing which has proven fatal a number of times to be properly prevented and the perpetrators arrested for their criminal acts. He has differences of opinion as to what the state could do if only they desired and had the will to do and wishes for leadership which would live up to the hopes and realizes the dreams of its people. Oh, and worst of all he belongs to a long line of trouble makers as he is a grandson of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane who was assassinated in 1990 for his controversial views that one day if Israel did not address challenges to its security the terror war would grow out of control, rocks would be hurled at motorists, stabbings would take place on the street, bombings would ensue in restaurants and other venues and public places and called for the transfer after buying out those Arabs who desired to leave and live elsewhere if only they had the funds and the expulsion of those deemed a threat to the nation and its people. For these crimes of association Meir was even denied permission to attend the Brit Milah, circumcision, of his first born son as well as missing his wife’s pregnancy and delivery of this precious child. The fact that Meir was held for just over nine months has this added element of mental stress and torture added onto everything else. Imagine being held for political reasons and due to your family heritage and missing almost all of the pregnancy of your wife, the delivery of your first son, his religious ceremony dedicating him to the Covenant with Hashem all because you are suspected of holding political views and being the grandson of an assassinated Rabbi with strong Torah views and great foresight and now you have a son who you can only fear will some day face the same torturous treatment. Let me display his thoughts which he included in a poem, not the greatest of poems and the greats need not fear Meir replacing them in any future great books of poetry, but it captures his essence which is what is most important. Meir Ettinger’s poem: as published in Arutz Sheva
You know, it’s not easy for us to be heard
The media hardly allows us a word
And he who dares say that the media’s wrong
Is ground into bits by their teeth and their tongue.
They have a system that’s oiled to perfection
One schemes, one directs, then they pen a confession
And he who dares question their machinations
Will find out that his past needs “investigations.”
Still, we will try to explain a thing or two
In the hope that you’ll realize it all rings true –
No, I don’t mind repeating our story to you
I’m in prison for months, there’s nothing to do.
If you’ve listened to all the distortions of truth
Then you shudder at hearing the words “hilltop youth.”
Someday we will tell you about the machine
That processes facts and decides what they mean
But for now, here’s a message we hope will hit home
(We’re writing our story in rhyme, like a poem.).
The hilltop youth – you won’t hear in the news –
Have hearts filled with love for their fellow Jews
And when they noticed the emperor’s clothes were awry
They couldn’t, like others, just let him pass by.
In their young minds many questions arose
When they saw that the emperor lacked more than his clothes
True, they had no proper contacts and methods and means
But were willing to try – after all, they are teens.
The truth they were missing, that is what they sought
To fill the lacunae in what they’d been taught
To them life was simple, they needed no frills
They went out to find truth on the bare, rocky hills.
Down below was erudition, with all degrees listed,
Could that be the reason so much had been twisted?
Only when young can this search be undertaken
We could step back from the crowd and try to awaken.
Families murdered on roads? In our land? – we asked why
We know it’s preventable, if you really try
Perhaps someone up there has a head that is hollow
That doesn’t keep him from leading – but why do you follow?
And when no one could give us a good explanation
It deepened our fear for the state of our nation
And led us to feelings of isolation
If matters so crucial are covered in plaster,
It’s no wonder foundations just crack all the faster.
Then many fine youths came to join and do good
Feel the pain of the nation – as all of us should
The establishment shunned them and on them heaped blame
And everyone else rushed to join in the game.
The youth on the hilltops were stunned by this ploy
Why the unleashed aggression, the need to destroy?
How could adults abrogate their own rules
And behave towards their children in ways that were cruel?
At first they had gazed on the children in wonder
But when truth posed a threat, they tore them asunder
For they know by themselves what we know very well
That power and honor is what makes their hearts swell.
We must have stumbled on some great mystery
Maybe someone is trying to rewrite history
Otherwise there is no way to fathom
What led them down to this moral chasm.
How turn evil into good and good into evil?
They gathered against us as if we’re the devil
Why create a new story every few days?
When we’d watch the news, we’d be simply amazed.
True, we do dream of ending our people’s disgrace
Hoping one day to see the Temple in its rightful place.
We believe that all of Israel is our eternal possession
And want our leaders to say no to secession.
This is what Jews prayed for throughout the years
Through gas and fire and blood and tears
So why do they treat us as if we’re deranged?
What Jewish aspiration has changed?
Why did they arrest us with such needless violence?
And leave us to languish in cells of silence?
Police made a mockery of the law
And when they caused us pain, broad smiles we saw.
Why does terror continue despite Tzahal forces
While the world keeps silent and its media endorses?
Our leaders with stopping the terror just toy
But command the army, “Settlement hilltops destroy!”
This policy did not emerge out of the blue
With every new government, it’s resurrected anew
Once again the British White Paper comes to pass
As each new government hopes that their power will last.
If someone notices that the emperor is sans his attire
He becomes a threat to be extinguished like fire
All the media join to burn the witch at the stake
With all of the threats and wild claims they can make.
You may feel that I am too rash in penning these words
But what we have here is a theater of the absurd.
Just one last question allow me to bring:
If my being free is the threatening thing
Maybe something very fundamental is the matter
If I, a singer at heart, am deemed the Mad Hatter.
All right, enough, I will silence my breath
Lest jailers administratively detain this bad poet to death.
That is his poem and perhaps frames his “crime against the state,” desiring it become a better place for which he was willing to live as an example of what could be while never calling for any overt or criminal act. He was admired partially because of his revered Rabbinical grandfather and because he was a leader and a figure respected by the others who believe as he does. I have never met Meir but would be honored to do so though not sure I would last too long at one of their campsites. Yes they have built temporary structures which have all been summarily razed within a week at the most by the authorities though he was at home when arrested, not sitting on some cold and unforgiving hilltop. His treatment will only have given him a more dedicated following if he so chooses and may have accomplished the exact opposite of its intents while quite possibly steeling this young man to lead more vigorously. He might even reestablish his grandfather’s political party though a new name would be in order as Rabbi Kahane’s party was permanently banned from running for election as it appeared to be garnering a following, cannot have a new political party which challenges the status quo and possibly even one or more of the establishment parties. That would reek of democracy. Nope, cannot have too much of that and did not the people realize the danger of voting for people they honestly believed in and wished to follow, nope, not that much democracy.
Meir, welcome home and may you live a fruitful life with joy and blessings of Hashem and all the merit you deserve and earn. Thank you for your stout heart and strong mind. Enjoy your new baby son and may you never be removed from his side ever again and may your tormentors be forgiven their transgressions as I feel confident you too wish for their souls and consciences.
Beyond the Cusp