The crackdown against Jewish activists continues, as the Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shabak) on Tuesday arrested Avitar Slonim ahead of what could be a controversial administrative arrest from his workplace at a moshav adjacent to Beit Shemesh.
Slonim was brought in for investigation at the ISA facility Kishon, in an arrest that comes a day after Jewish activist Meir Ettinger – the grandson of Rabbi Meir Kahane – was arrested on vague suspicions of "Jewish extremist activity" and likewise brought in to Kishon.
Slonim has been living at the moshav by Beit Shemesh after being distanced from Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem by an administrative order. Like Ettinger, he was arrested on suspicions of being involved in "violent radical Jewish" activities.
Ettinger's arrest was extended by the Nazareth Magistrates' Court on Tuesday afternoon until next Sunday, after the ISA originally asked for a week-long extension. Ettinger's lawyer plans to submit a petition against the extension on Wednesday.
His arrest may be turned into an administrative detention, a relic from the British mandate used against Arab terrorists until now, under which he would face six months of endlessly renewable detention without any evidence required.
Attorney Yuval Zamar of the Honenu legal aid organization, who is representing Ettinger, said Tuesday that the young activist is being subjected to violent abuse in interrogations.
Describing the shaking and other forms of violence being used against his client, Zamar said, "the harsh treatment Mr. Ettinger is receiving from the Shabak investigators and the use of violent interrogation against him, which is against the law, is very serious in my eyes, and a complaint has been transferred to the attorney general and the state attorney."
"The court discussion today only strengthens the feeling that this is an empty arrest meant only for police public relations, at the expense of Mr. Ettinger," said Zamar. "Due to the media gag order I unfortunately can't address the suspicions themselves, but it appears that this is basically a repeat on materials known to investigators for a long period."
The ISA denied the claims of violent interrogation.
The ISA has been sued at the Supreme Court in the past for violent interrogations, such as shaking the suspect, holding them in uncomfortable positions for extended periods of time, and preventing them from sleeping. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the ISA cannot use violent force in interrogation.
Former MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari, head of the Otzma Yehudit party, said the government lost its sanity as shown in its pursuit of Ettinger, who he said has been under constant surveillance undermining claims that he established some sort of "underground organization."
Ben-Ari added that Ettinger, who has openly called for Israel to embrace Jewish Torah law, has the right to freedom of speech if Israel is indeed a democratic country.