A suspected Jewish extremist jailed after settler rampages in Palestinian towns is to be transferred to a pre-military academy in the West Bank, where he will join the student body under a pilot program, the Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

The suspect, a minor whose name has not been released, was held in administrative detention. This is a controversial practice that allows authorities to hold suspects in detention, virtually indefinitely, even if no charges are brought.

“The youth admitted his nationalist-motivated acts and expressed his full regret,” the Department of Defense said, without giving details of his alleged crimes.

According to Kan News, the youth was arrested in late June following settler unrest sparked by a terrorist attack in the West Bank settlement of Eli, which is also home to the pre-military academy (“Mechina”) Bnei David, in which he will attend.

After the attack, which killed four Israelis at a hummus restaurant and gas station in the settlement, hundreds of young Jewish men rampaged in the nearby Palestinian villages, including Turmus Ayya, Umm Safa and Urif, stabbing homes, cars, etc Burning of agricultural fields and, in some cases, local residents being shot.

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Defense Minister Yoav Gallant personally signed the decision to transfer the youths to Bnei David Mechina on the recommendation of the Shin Bet security agency, the Defense Ministry said. The youth are expected to join the IDF after participating in the program.

To illustrate: Students of the Bnei David Pre-Army Academy dance while waving flags. (Screenshot/YouTube)

“Defense and Justice officials involved in the case reviewed Shin Bet’s assessment and concluded that the Mechina alternative makes it possible to address the dangers exposed by the case and the chances of rehabilitation from crime in which he was involved increased,” the Department of Defense said.

The Bnei David Mechina is considered the flagship pre-military academy for young national religious men, and its graduates exert significant influence in the Israel Defense Forces combat units. Well-known alumni include Ofer Winter, Emmanuel Moreno and Hadar Goldin.

However, the school was also criticized for homophobic and sexist statements by its rabbis Eli Sadan and Yigal Levinstein. The latter has called members of the LGBT community “deviant” and women serving in the IDF “insane.”

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