On June 1, 2016 Meir Ettinger was released from prison. They called it administrative detention, but it was not. It was false imprisonment with hardened criminals and convicted terrorists. Meir was held in solitary confinement. Everything about his imprisonment flew in the face of established law pertaining to how administrative detainees are to be treated. He was never charged, never had a trial, never had the chance to confront his accusers. He was simply locked up to be forever silenced, or so they desired.
The headlines blasted the news: “Jewish extremist released,” “Jewish Terror Suspect Freed,” and so forth. Extremist? Terror suspect? Actually, Meir Ettinger is none of these. He, like so many young Jews trying to live a life true to Torah, merely expressed ideas that the State–Medinat Israel–found to be threatening. Why threatening? Because the voice of the Jewish heart exposes the lie in the hearts of those who do not believe.
Meir’s words are threatening to a medinat that envisions itself as existing in perpetuity. Medinat Israel does not dream of a Beit HaMikdash. It does not cry and yearn for Moshiach. As Meir points out so beautifully in the video below, medinat israel is not Medinat Ya’acov. And there is a difference.
In this video that was produced shortly after Meir’s release, he gives us a taste of the “dangerous” words of the Jewish heart that longs for geula, for a nation that lives on Torah, for Moshiach, for the completion of our task. And more importantly, he gives us koach to continue on with the war of emunah.
Everything happens according to the Will of HaShem
Meir describes his time in solitary confinement as very difficult and at times, he says, insanity was banging at the walls. Yet, at the same time, in this place of restriction, Meir was able to draw down from Above Torah and Kedusha. He reflected on the two ways in which HaShem interacts with us. Sometimes we are His messengers, carrying His Flag, which can be very heavy. But carry we must because this is what HaShem has chosen for us at certain times. The second is the way of neis, when we see that in fact, HaShem really does not need us at all. Through the neis, we see the power of HaShem, and that He is fully capable of doing everything by Himself. Therefore, when we have a task, even a heavy task to do, it is because HaShem has chosen us to do it for Him. Everything happens according to His Will.
Emunah in HaShem is paramount
Meir tells us that he believes Shabak is acting according to what they truly believe. But, he does not understand this belief system, because the only belief system is belief in HaShem. Yet, at the same time, in spite of how easy it would be to do so, Meir says that he does call them re’shaiim because they put him in jail. He understood that if he was in jail, it was because he had to work on repairing his relationship with HKBH. It became clear that everything is connected to belief in HKBH. His questioning, then, was not focused on Shabak, but rather on himself, to discover what was lacking in his emunah in HaShem.
Medinat Israel is not Medinat Ya’acov
Meir urges us to see how far Eretz Yisrael has fallen down from Torah, to really focus in and observe the situation with crystal vision. We can see how Medinat Israel not only fails to protect the Jews, but is actively hunting down and persecuting Jews for no reason other than their attachment to Torah. The medinat Israel has fallen all the way down to the level of torturing Jews. The realities of what is going on before our eyes exposes in the most potent way how much we need Medinat Ya’acov, the true Eretz Yisrael.
We are in a war of emunah
Shabak and Medinat Israel are fighting a war against religious Jews. Meir cautions us to keep in mind, that each time we pray, we are praying for the Beit HaMikdash, for Moshiach, for Shabbat, for Geula. Each of these is classified as a threat to the status quo of the Medinat, and its agent–Shabak. All we want is the Israel of our prayers, thousands of years of prayers, we yearn for this Israel and yet for Shabak, this is endangering the State. We dream of a medinat that represents and protects all the things that Am Israel is about and for which we have been fighting for all these years. But, our yearning is a threat and so they come to take us. Meir says it is critical for us to understand the danger of the situation we face today.
HKBH is always watching over us
In conclusion, Meir says that he has become less concerned about what “they” think or what they will decide to do. We can see how HKBH looks over us and protects us. Gush Katif was a terrible tragedy and traumatic experience. Yet, when Hamas fired thousands of rockets from Aza, HKBH displayed his rachamim and not a single rocket served its purpose. Our duty, Meir says, is to engrave upon our heart what it means to be Yehudi, to bring clarity to what is the real mission of Am Yisrael and to see, with clear vision, what is the difference between medinat israel and Medinat Ya’acov.
Indeed, we are at war from all sides and even from within. Meir Ettinger’s words are so emet, potent and filled with strength. Regardless of the arrows, coming from every direction, we must strengthen and hold on to our emunah in HaShem. We must remember that He alone runs the world and is watching over us every moment. We must never succumb to the false medinat israel, but instead intensify our yearning, tefilah and tears for Medinat Ya’acov. In the end, we will win this war. Medinat Israel and Shabak and all the internal and external enemies will be gone like chaff in the wind.
I look forward to more words from this very wise young man.