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2017-04-07 digital edition
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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2017 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


 

April 7, 2017  RSS feed
World News

Text: T T T

Father of bomb threat suspect apologizes to American Jews

JERUSALEM (JTA) – The father of the Israeli-American teenager arrested on suspicion of calling in more than 100 bomb threats to JCCs and Jewish institutions has apologized for his son’s actions.

The father appeared in his first interview in Israel, nearly two weeks after he was arrested along with his son following a months-long undercover investigation by Israel’s anti-fraud unit, as well as the FBI in the United States and law enforcement in other countries.

“To all the Jews in the United States, I want to convey an unequivocal message: We are very sorry from the bottom of our hearts. We are good Jews, we do not hate you. There was no hatred here. His motive is solely the disease,” the teen’s father said on Channel 2 from his home in Ashkelon, in southern Israel, where he remains under house arrest on suspicion that he knew about his son’s activities.

The identity of the suspect, 19, is under a gag order in Israel, though he has been identified in reports in other countries.

The teen remains jailed following a hearing on April 6 in which the judge remanded him again until April 18.

The father, who was not seen in the interview, is identified only as Eli, a pseudonym.

The father denies knowing about what his son was doing, but does not deny that his son carried out the threats.

“The world has to understand, this boy is different, he’s unique,” said the father.

The father said he son has undergone three surgeries to remove tumors after being exposed to harmful chemicals at his job, and that his son also has a benign tumor in his head.

At a court hearing last week, the teen’s attorney presented photographs and medical imaging of a non-malignant brain tumor that the defense says affects his behavior.

He also is accused of a series of threats made in Israel, Europe, Australia and New Zealand in the past six months and of making a threatening call to Delta Airlines, leading to the emergency landing of at least one plane.

The teen’s mother in another interview on Channel 2 said through tears that the threats were not her son’s fault because he cannot control his behavior due to the tumor and his autism.

The teen was born in the United States; the family moved to Israel when he was 6. He was homeschooled from first grade and, according to his mother, rarely left home and has no friends.


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