Israel Detains US-Israeli Teen Over Jewish Center Bomb Threats
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 31, 2017,
Mar 31, 2017, 18:35
He was arrested for suspicion of making security-related threats and publishing false reports causing panic in Jewish communities in countries around the world, said Israel police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
Israeli police say a 19-year-old man with American and Israeli citizenship is suspected of making threats against Jewish institutions worldwide. One of those threats reportedly led to the grounding of a Delta Airlines flight in February 2015.
Israeli police said they arrested the Israeli Jewish man as the primary suspect in threats targeting JCCs and other institutions in the USA, marking a potential breakthrough in a case that stoked fears across the United States.
The Jewish teen who was apprehended by Israeli police is also suspected of issuing threats to synagogues in Australia and New Zealand. USA officials told NBC News that a motive remains unclear and the suspect is himself Jewish.
"I congratulate the Israeli police on leading a complex global investigation, together with law enforcement agencies from around the world, which led to the arrest of the suspect", Erdan said. "He was the main suspect behind the numerous amount of threats which were made to different Jewish communities and organizations around the world".
On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the arrest is part of a larger investigation into hate crimes directed against the Jewish community.
In a statement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which was also involved in the arrest, applauded the Israeli National Police's "great work", but didn't provide further comment.
The threats led to evacuations of the buildings, upset Jewish communities, and raised fears of rising anti-Semitism.
On March 8, executives from 141 Jewish community centers signed a letter to Sessions expressing frustration with efforts combating a rash of bomb threats.
The arrest comes weeks after several threats across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.
Jordan Shenker, head of the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly, says he is cautiously optimistic that the man arrested in Israel on Thursday acted alone and that the threats will be over.
The Anti-Defamation League said there have been 165 bomb threats in the United States and Canada this year.
But the accusation against Thompson accounted for just a small fraction of the more than 100 bomb threats received by Jewish institutions this year, according to data from the JCC Association of North America.