Jewish Israeli Teen Arrested For Making Hundreds Of Threats Against JCC’s Around The Globe [UPDATED]

25

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In a shocking twist of events, Israeli police on Thursday arrested a 19-year-old Israeli Jewish man as the primary suspect in a string of bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers and other institutions in the U.S., marking a potential breakthrough in the case.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld described the suspect as a hacker, but said his motives were still unclear. Israeli media identified him as an American-Israeli dual citizen and said he had been found unfit for compulsory service in the Israeli military.

“He’s the guy who was behind the JCC threats,” Rosenfeld said, referring to the dozens of anonymous threats phoned in to Jewish community centers in the U.S. over the past two months.

The suspect has not been named and details about him or his possible motive have been scant.

His attorney, Galit Besh, said that the teenager has a nonmalignant brain tumor that leads to behavioral issues and that he was home-schooled.

His remand was extended by the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s court for eight days. He faces charges of extortion and is accused of sowing widespread fear and panic, police said.

The FBI, which had taken part in the investigation, confirmed the arrest but had no other comment.

The Anti-Defamation League says there have been more than 150 bomb threats against Jewish community centers and day schools in 37 states and two Canadian provinces since Jan. 9. Those threats led to evacuations of the buildings, upset Jewish communities and raised fears of rising anti-Semitism. The threats were accompanied by acts of vandalism on several Jewish cemeteries.

The threats led to criticism of President Donald Trump’s administration for not speaking out fast enough. Last month, the White House denounced the threats and rejected “anti-Semitic and hateful threats in the strongest terms.”

U.S. authorities have also arrested a former journalist from St. Louis for allegedly threatening Jewish organizations. Juan Thompson has been indicted in New York on one count of cyberstalking.

But Israeli police described the local man as the primary suspect in the wave of threats.

Israeli police said the suspect made dozens of calls claiming to have placed bombs in public places and private companies, causing panic and “significant economic damage,” and disrupting public order, including by the hurried evacuations of a number of public venues around the world. The man is suspected of placing threatening phone calls to Australia, New Zealand and also within Israel.

Rosenfeld said the man called Delta Airlines in February 2015 and made a false threat about explosives aboard a flight from JFK airport in New York – in a story published by YWN. The threat allegedly led to an emergency landing.

Rosenfeld said the man, from the south of Israel, used advanced technologies to mask the origin of his calls and communications to synagogues, community buildings and public venues. He said police searched his house Thursday morning and discovered antennas and satellite equipment.

“He didn’t use regular phone lines. He used different computer systems so he couldn’t be backtracked,” Rosenfeld said.

After an intensive investigation in cooperation with FBI representatives who arrived in Israel, as well as other police organizations from various countries, technology was used to track down the suspect, Rosenfeld said.

A neighbor told Channel 10 News he was extremely quiet and would only leave his home to walk a dog, always wearing the same clothes.

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the arrest shows the Justice Department will not tolerate religious-oriented attacks.

Sessions said in a statement Thursday that the arrest is the result of a large investigation into hate crimes against the Jewish community. He says the Justice Department “will not tolerate the targeting of any community in the country on the basis of their religious beliefs.”

He called work by the FBI and Israeli police “outstanding.”

Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan released the following statement top the media following the announced arrest:

“I congratulate the Israeli Police on leading a complex international investigation, together with law enforcement agencies from around the world, which led to the arrest of the suspect. We hope that this investigation will help shed light on some of the recent threats against Jewish institutions, which have caused great concern both among Jewish communities and the Israeli government. ”

(AP)

25 COMMENTS

  1. The Israeli society is one big failure!
    The officially booming economy doesn’t seem to be helping the endless stream of unfortunate people traveling abroad to collect.

  2. Wow liberals
    Trump is the fault Right?
    Unbelievable חילול השם
    where is the ignorant Morrrrran reporter from Ami Magazine
    This guy made the Jewish people look like Obama they Blame Russian story to others & they are the Biggest corroption institution

  3. “The Israeli society is one big failure!
    The officially booming economy doesn’t seem to be helping the endless stream of unfortunate people traveling abroad to collect.”
    What a stupid comment! The secular Israeli economy is booming. The people that are collecting are frume. They are not part of that economy.

  4. Perhaps this is why Trump was so reluctant to speak out against these threats to the JCCs…he probably knew there was some likelihood they were phony and originated in EY.

  5. American-Israeli citizenship

    Israeli police worked with the FBI during the months-long undercover investigation to identify the 19-year-old suspect, who used “advanced camouflage technologies” to cover his tracks, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
    The suspect holds dual American-Israeli citizenship, an Israeli security official told CNN. He was arrested in Israel.

  6. This is a Chillul Hashem of epic proportions. Unfortunately throughout our long and bitter galus, WE have always proven to be our own worst enemy! We just keep on feeding the goyim ammunition to hang ourselves. This is just terrible. If proven true, I hope this lowlife worthless piece of manure never sees the light day again.

  7. appleface and SmileyFace both raise an interesting point. A population of people who, by and large, work are doing well economically; another population of people who, by and large, don’t work are seeing tremendous poverty.

    Perhaps the contrast in America is less pronounced since a larger segment of the frum population pursue advanced professional training, enabling them to obtain well-paying jobs. For example, the number of BMG alum that go on to law school is certainly much higher than the comparable number of Israel from Ponevezh or Brisk that go to law school. I suppose that this, in turn, is somewhat related to the fact that in the America, even most frum Jews have some sort of secular high-school education, making something like law school possible even if still difficult. In contrast, bochrim that attend yeshiva ketana in Israel, and have no secular education after they are 13 or 14, have a substantially harder time making the transition.

    Well, I guess this is food for thought, and I appreciate all of the faces that brought up this interesting issue.

  8. There have been numerous anti Semitic incidents worldwide recently besides this man’s phone calls. That Ami reporter asked a legitimate question of Trump. There is no way Trump knew that an American Israeli was behind the phone calls.

  9. It’s sad that this young man — a teenager — probably wanted to scare American and Australian Jews into making aliyah. He deludely thought if they were frightened by the threats, they would move to Eretz Yisrael.

  10. There are too many episodes of mentally troubled members of ethnic groups that are the subject of pervasive attacks, hateful rhetoric etc. commit those very same acts against their own mosdos in the delusional belief they are somehow helping their cause by highlighting these acts. There are several pending cases where Afro-Americans have burned their own churches or painted swastikas and klu klux klan symbols on black-owned homes and businesses. My point being this is tragic and hurts the fight against anti-Semitism but not the first time some Jewish teenager or adult has been found to be the perpetrator of these type of hate crimes.

  11. What was is motivation
    Is he to FRUM because he didn’t call BMG OR SATMER
    so was he targeting JEWISH !!
    ?????

    US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement: “Today’s arrest in Israel is the culmination of a large-scale investigation spanning multiple continents for hate crimes against Jewish communities across our country. The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans, and we will not tolerate the targeting of any community in this country on the basis of their religious beliefs. I commend the FBI and Israeli National Police for their outstanding work on this case.”

  12. Trump was correct in not jumping to condemn the bomb threats, not because he suspected that the perpetrator was Jewish, but because of the nature of psychology and publicity. Premature recognition (publicity) seriously risks encouraging the perpetrator as well as well as encouraging copy cats. It is remarkable that only one copy cat is known after all this time.

  13. Perhaps I missed something in the story, but no where does it seem to imply he is from the religious sector. As someone living in Israel for many years now I can tell you: he was found unfit for the army means he did apply for the army, he has a dog, and he has lots of technological know-how and equipment…. sounds secular. Not defending him in any way, but why all the negative comments about religious Israeli society?