AP NEWS

Michael Kadar, American-Israeli, sentenced in Tel Aviv over bomb threats targeting Jewish centers

November 23, 2018

Michael Kadar, an American-Israeli man convicted of terrorizing Jewish community centers across the U.S. with a wave of bogus bomb threats, was sentenced by a court in Tel Aviv to 10 years in prison Thursday.

Unidentified by Israeli media outlets on account of starting his crime spree while still a minor, the dual citizen was found guilty in June in connection with placing thousands of threatening phone calls against various victims in the U.S. and abroad between 2015 and 2017, including airports, airlines, schools and Jewish community centers.

Israeli outlets described the so-called “JCC hoax bomber” as the same person previously charged with related crimes by the U.S. Department of Justice, consequently revealing his identity as Kadar.

The Justice Department charged Kadar, 20, last year with dozens of counts connected to a wave of threatening calls placed against U.S. victims prior to his March 2017 arrest, and prosecutors subsequently filed federal hate crimes charges against him in Feb. 2018.

The dual citizen issued more than 2,000 threats prior to his arrest, according to the Israeli State Prosecutor’s office, and the U.S. Justice Department has previously identified his targets as Jewish centers in at least three states, as well as the Orlando International Airport, the Anti-Defamation League’s headquarters and the Israeli Embassy in D.C., among other targets.

“When individuals target victims of their crimes based on who they are, what they believe, or how they worship, they target the bedrock principles on which our nation was founded,” former Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement issued when the Justice Department announced the hate crime charges against Kadar.

Discussing the crimes during Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Zvi Gurfinkel described the impact the bogus bomb threats had on victims flying aboard airlines targeted by his threats.

“One can easily imagine the terror, the fear and the horror that gripped the airplane passengers who were forced to make an emergency landing, some of whom were injured while evacuating the plane and the terrified panic caused when there was a need to evacuate pupils from schools because of fake bomb threats,” he wrote in his verdict, The New York Times reported.

Kadar did not deny responsibility during trial, instead blaming his actions on his autism, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported.

“Were it not for his condition, I would have sentenced him to 17 years in prison,” Judge Gurfinkel ruled Thursday, according to JWire, a Jewish news service that covered the case.

“This is the most cruel, cruel thing in the world,” Kadar’s mother said of the sentencing, The New York Times reported. “I’m very sorry, but I am ashamed that the country acts this way.”

Representatives for the Justice Department did not immediately comment on the sentence.

AP RADIO
Update hourly