US Identifies, Charges Teen Accused of Jewish Threats

By Reuters
April 21, 2017 Updated: April 21, 2017

An Israeli-American teenager accused of making dozens of hoax bomb threats to Jewish community centers was identified for the first time on Friday in separate criminal complaints filed in U.S. courts in Florida and Georgia.

Michael Ron David Kadar, who has dual citizenship and lives in Israel, made at least 245 threatening telephone calls between Jan. 4 and March 7, with a significant portion of them targeting Jewish community centers in the United States, according to the Florida complaint.

Kadar also is responsible for more than 240 hoax threats called into schools across the United States and Canada between August and December 2015, forcing thousands of students to be evacuated, according to the Georgia complaint. He had not previously been linked to those calls.

Kadar, who is Jewish, was arrested in Israel on March 23 by Israeli national police and has remained in custody there. His name had been withheld by Israeli authorities pending a formal indictment.

U.S. and Israeli authorities have not publicly offered a possible motive. Kadar’s defense lawyers in Israel have said he was home-schooled and suffers from a growth in his head that causes behavioral problems.

The U.S. Justice Department did not say whether it would seek his extradition.

The waves of threats against Jewish groups forced widespread evacuations, including of centers with young children, and prompted concern among Jewish leaders about a resurgence of anti-Semitism. Israeli authorities have said the calls also went to institutions in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The complaints against Kadar provided new detail about the evidence authorities have, including a flash drive found in his laptop containing recordings of numerous telephoned threats and media reports about those calls.

Kadar spontaneously told officers who arrested him at his house in Ashkelon, Israel, that he “did not do it,” according to the Florida complaint. When asked what he meant, he referred to the Jewish community center threats, even though no officer had mentioned them, the complaint said.

Kadar also has a speech impediment that matched one observed in recordings of the threat calls, U.S. authorities said.

It was not immediately clear why charges were brought only in Florida and Georgia, after Jewish community centers in dozens of states were hit by the threats Kadar is accused of making.