Meir Ettinger, who was arrested on Monday by the Shin Bet, was accused by the security service of heading a cell planning to commit a series of violent acts against Palestinians as part of a plan he branded "the revolt".
Ettinger, considered the Shin Bet's Jewish division's number one target, was arrested at his apartment in Safed. He is the grandson of far-right late US-born rabbi Meir Kahane, who advocated expelling Arabs from Israel and the Palestinian territories.
According to his worldview, violence must be committed in order to light the flames of conflict and cause the Israeli government to collapse. Anarchy would follow, and then a new order could be created.
"The meaning of bringing down the state is toppling the structure of the state and its ability to rule, and to build a new institution," wrote Ettinger in a document outlining his plan.
"To this end, we must work outside of the rules of the institution we want to bring down.
"If the 'contractor' sees there is a regime and keeps him from carrying out the mission, and the mission must be carried out, he must think now how to topple the regime that's stopping him from building the temple, which is preventing us from attaining full and true salvation," read the document.
"The idea of the revolt is very simple," continued Ettinger. "Israel has many 'weak points', subjects people tiptoe around so as not to cause riots. What we will do is simply 'spark' all these powder kegs, all the questions and the contradictions between Judaism and democracy. Between the Jewish character and the secular character, without fearing the results. Disturbing the ability to rule the country. That's the main part of the revolt's 'vort' (word) to break the rules and the entire status quo."
The document went on: "When you do this, you have to pay attention to the difference between 'breaking' the state, which is an action that doesn't pay enough attention to what is left of the fragments, and 'dismantling', which is the same action, only gentler and particularly careful. That is, ultimately the goal is disturbing the foundations of the state until the point where the Jews are forced to decide whether they want to take part in the revolution or in suppressing the revolt, because it will not be possible to ignore it or continue to sit and do nothing, because in practice the revolt will not permit the state's existence in the same way."
Ettinger was born in Jerusalem to Mordechai Ettinger, a rabbi at the Har Hamor and Ateret Kohanim yeshivas in Jerusalem, and Tova, the daughter of Rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the outlawed Kach movement. He got married in October 2014.
"I've lost the energy for it," Tova Ettinger told Ynet on Monday following her son's arrest.
Ettinger embarked on this path six years ago in the outpost of Ramat Magron, which was eventually evacuated, and with time became a well-known figure. He has previously encountered security forces in several incidents, such as when he entered Joseph's Tombin Nablus despite not being approved, and involvement in collecting information on security forces planning to evacuate West Bank outposts, which led to more than six months of detention for Ettinger.
At this point, he met friends from the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in Yitzhar, and began to be drawn to Hasidic-messianic ideas about hastening salvation through deeds. The president of the yeshiva is Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, a controversial figure who has been arrested for a series of publications about Arabs, including pamphlets stating that Arabs have no right to live in Israel.
According to the Shin Bet, Ettinger has continued to radicalize since then, and is at the head of a new organization, which was responsible for the arson at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish in June.
Ettinger denied in a blog post that he was the chief of a Jewish terror organization: "To tell you the truth, I don't know what they in the Shin Bet wanted me to organize, and they should definitely look for other people to cast for the roles they need in their show for the media, but this urge of the Shin Bet to create an atmosphere, to put up appearances as if there is some 'organization' it exposed, clearly illustrates to us what those in the Shin Bet understand and are so afraid of," he wrote.
Attorney Yuval Zemer, who represents Ettinger, said he felt the arrest was more a matter of public relations than a true investigation.