Israeli man charged after hundreds of Jewish centers in USA get threats

Rosenfeld said the man is "the guy who was behind the JCC threats", referring to Jewish community centers in the US that have received dozens of anonymous threats in recent weeks.

He was arrested in southern Israel after an undercover investigation with the FBI.

The suspect placed threats to U.S., New Zealand and Australia.

The young man appeared briefly in court in the central Israeli city of Rishon Letzion.

"Early this morning in Israel, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Israeli National Police worked jointly to locate and arrest the individual suspected for threats to Jewish organizations across the United States and in other parts of the world", she said Thursday.

The threats across the USA have forced people to vacate dozens of Jewish Community Centers, schools, offices and day-care centers, fostering fears about anti-Semitism nationwide.

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The Jewish Community Center in Rochester, N.Y., was shut down because of a bomb threat on March 12.

Police said the suspect was responsible for a bomb threat against Delta Airlines flight 468 in January 2015 at New York's John F. Kennedy airport. They say in February 2015 he placed a bomb threat to Delta Airlines which grounded two flights at JFK Airport in NY.

They say the teen used "advanced camouflage technologies", according to CNN.

According to his lawyer, the suspect has been suffering from a brain tumor since the age of 14, which affects his behavior and led him to be home-schooled, Ynet reported.

Ron Hosko, a retired FBI assistant director, said such investigations require massive manpower to solve.

Nevertheless, some leaders of JCCs in the United States feel some portion of the threat may have been mitigated with the arrest of the Israeli teenager.

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The threats spread fear in communities, prompting some of the targeted institutions to upgrade physical security at community centers and offer personal training to staffers to better protect themselves.

"Even though it appears that the main culprit behind the majority of these attacks has allegedly been identified, anti-Semitism in the USA remains a very serious concern", Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.

Michael Balaban, president of the Jewish Federation of Broward County, and Scott Ehrlich, chief executive officer of the David Posnack Jewish Community Center, said in a joint statement they "are glad a suspect has been arrested".

It said they were spread across 37 states and two Canadian provinces.

The increase in bomb threats, and in vandalising of several Jewish cemeteries, have prompted talk of a rise in anti-Semitism in the US, with a leading US Jewish group, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), issuing a nationwide "security advisory" last month.

"This arrest doesn't change the fact that anti-Semitism is at an alarmingly high level", Florida Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat, told The Times of Israel in a statement.

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But Shapiro said the great majority continue to go to classes, use the gym, or send their kids to child care programs.


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