A teenager with dual U.S. and Israeli citizenship has been indicted on hate crimes and making false threats in what federal prosecutors assert was a multistate torrent of hundreds of calls last winter to Jewish community centers and institutions, including the Israeli Embassy.
Michael Ron David Kadar, — who is 19 and lived in Ashkelon, Israel, at the time of the alleged threats — was charged in a criminal complaint in April of making false bomb threats to Jewish sites in Florida from January to March 7, 2017, giving false information to police about harm to people in Georgia, and cyberstalking.
The indictments announced Wednesday include hate crimes in the charges and filings in the District alleged for the first time that Kadar also acted against the Israeli Embassy and Anti-Defamation League offices in Washington last year.
Prosecutors allege he used Internet services to place a telephone bomb threat to the ADL in Washington on March 7 and emailed a similar threat March 9 that pipe bombs had been placed in the Israeli Embassy.
Karad also is accused of taking “extraordinary steps to conceal his identity and location” through technology, including voice alteration to make it sound as if a woman were the caller, use of proxy IP addresses, virtual currencies and caller ID “spoofing,” U.S. Justice Department officials have said.
Kadar has been arrested and remains in custody in Israel.
Threats caused closures of numerous facilities and drew large law enforcement responses.
“Make no mistake, these threats were acts of anti-Semitism and deserve to be treated as a hate crime,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL, said in a statement. “They targeted Jewish institutions in order to stoke fear and anxiety, and put the entire Jewish community on high alert.”
The new indictments are in Florida, Georgia and the District.
A 32-count indictment in Florida charges Kadar with hate crimes in allegedly making 245 calls threatening community centers, Jewish preschools and ADL offices in the state, as well as a bomb threat to Orlando International Airport. He was also indicted on three counts in Georgia for alleged cyber stalking and reporting a bogus hostage situation at a private residence in Athens, Ga., that included an alleged threat to kill responding police.
Kadar was charged in Washington with two counts of making interstate threats and two counts of threatening and conveying false information concerning use of an explosive, both felonies.
“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,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “These alleged threats of violence instilled fear in the Jewish community and other communities across the country, and it is the Justice Department’s duty to make sure all Americans can live their lives without this type of fear.”
Earlier this week, the ADL issued a report in which the organization said it had documented 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents reported across the United States in 2017, including physical assaults, vandalism and attacks on Jewish institutions. The figure represented a 57 percent increase over 1,267 incidents in 2016 — the largest single-year increase on record since 1979 when the League started tracking incident data, the organization said in a statement. There were 169 bomb threats against Jewish community institutions in 2017, the ADL statement said, including some not linked to incidents of which Kadar is accused.
Hate crime charges are punishable by up to 20 years on each count, bomb threat charges by up to 10 years each, and interstate threats, hoax, and cyberstalking charges by up to five years each, the Justice Department said.