An Israeli-American man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for making more than 2,000 bomb threats against US Jewish institutions, schools, airlines, police stations and even a basketball team’s plane.
Although Israeli courts did not identify the 20-year-old man because he was tried as a minor, an indictment in the US names him as Michael Ron David Kadar.
Kadar’s lawyers argued he may not have grasped the severity of his actions because he had a brain tumour and was autistic, reported the AFP news agency.
The judge in the case acknowledged Kadar’s autism, but said he had “a high IQ and understands his deeds very well”, adding: “If not for his medical condition, the defendant would have received a much longer sentence.”
His case is the latest which suggests a link between the perpetrator’s mental health and malicious online acts.
The court stated Kadar made more than 2,000 threats between April 2015 and March 2017, to schools, malls, police stations, hospitals, Jewish institutions and a jet flying the Boston Celtics US basketball team to a game.
He also sent threatening emails to his victims to suggest “an act of terror was going to take place in their location”.
In response to one of Kadar’s bomb threats, fighter jets were scrambled in Switzerland and France to ensure that an Israeli flight in their airspace would not attempt to crash into a building.
Kadar is Jewish and from the city of Ashkelon in southern Israel, reported AFP.
According to The Times of Israel, Kadar received payments for sending bomb threats to schools from students who wished to get their examinations postponed.
He was arrested in March 2017 after investigators tracked him down following the threats against Jewish organisations in the US, which sparked concerns about antisemitic attacks.
Months after Kadar was arrested, the president was criticised for failing to condemn neo-Nazis and white supremacists following clashes in Charlottesville which left a 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer, dead.
Politically progressive Jewish activists have also protested against the president following a deadly shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue just weeks ago.