The 18-year old, living in Israel for the past few years and using anonymizer software to cover his tracks, first made threats to a Jewish institution in New Zealand back in 2016, then to one in Australia, and finally, most recently to 16 Jewish centers in nine U.S. states in the United States. The teen also made a bomb threat to Delta Airlines, forcing it to make an early landing.
The cyberattack unit of Israel’s fraud squad made the arrest after receiving information from the FBI, which discovered that the threats made at several Jewish centers in the United States originated from Israel.
The Jewish Telegraph Agency obtained an audio of one of the calls, which relayed the following message: “It’s a C-4 bomb with a lot of shrapnel, surrounded by a bag (inaudible). In a short time, a large number of Jews are going to be slaughtered. Their heads are going to (sic) blown off from the shrapnel. There’s a lot of shrapnel. There’s going to be a bloodbath that’s going to take place in a short time. I think I told you enough. I must go.”
While the suspect’s motive is still unknown, his father was also detained for questioning. Police seized computers and other items that allowed him to make the threats in a manner that made it difficult to locate him.
Deemed unfit to serve in the Israel Defense Forces, the suspect, according to the the Jerusalem Post, is “not ultra-Orthodox … and possibly has psychological and social problems.”
Israeli police spokesperson Mickey Rosenfeld told the Jerusalem Post that “as part of the ongoing investigation, we are trying to see if and how he was connected to the different Jewish communities in the US. That directs the investigation to the American connection.”
The Israeli-U.S. teen’s case is separate from that of another man arrested earlier this month in connection to similar threats to U.S. Jewish institutions, Juan Thompson, a man from St. Louis who had acted to intimidate a former girlfriend.
Since U.S. President Donald Trump was elected as President, bomb threats to Jewish institutions in the country have increased ten-fold, with more than 100 occurring since the beginning of the year.
Trump, in a meeting with attorney generals from around the country last month,questioned the true motive behind the recent surge of anti-Semitic attacksin the United States, and suggested that they have been staged to frame his supporters, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. The shifting of blame is a common conspiracy theory among white supremacists.
In addition, in February, in a statement issued on the anniversary of the Holocaust, the White House intentionally left out any explicit mention of Jews.