Mother of Ashkelon teen arrested for JCC bomb threats says her son ‘loves Judaism’

After it was revealed that an 18-year-old American-Israeli has been arrested for making hundreds of bomb threats against Jewish centers around the world, Channel 2 News talked with the suspect’s mother. “I was shocked and I’m still in shock,” the mother said. “This is a boy who loves Judaism.”
The mother Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

What appeared to be a wave of anti-Semitism that was sweeping across continents apparently originated in a small apartment in Ashkelon where a 19-year-old American-Israeli lives with his parents. The suspect’s name is under a gag order in Israel but news agencies are calling him “M.” Channel 2 News visited the suspect’s home and interviewed his mother.

“I didn’t know that he was spending such a long time on the computer,” she said. “I return from work and go to sleep. I wasn’t aware of how much time he was sitting at the computer.”

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M was born in the U.S. to an American mother and Israeli father. Almost immediately after he was born, his parents understood that something was off. “He had a large head,” his mother recalled. “When he was a year old, he still hadn’t talked but he loved puzzles. I understood that he was highly intelligent.”

When M was six years old, his parents decided to move to Israel and live in Ashkelon near the father’s family. M was sent to the nearby elementary school. “He wasn’t able to sit,” his mother recalled. “It was hard for him to sit and pay attention.”

His parents then decided to take him out of the public education system and homeschool him. His mother left her job and dedicated all of her time to educating the couple’s only son. Over the years, M was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum. He had no friends and only talked with his parents. His mother added that he barely left their home but exhibited exceptional cognitive abilities.

The suspect Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

Even though he rarely left his home in Ashkelon, he had a connection with the outside world via the Internet. “I was shocked and I’m still in shock,” the mother said. “This is a boy who loves Judaism.”

The FBI and Israel Police believe that over the past three years, the suspect has sent hundreds of threats to Jewish centers throughout the world while concealing his identity by using advanced technology.

The mother claims that her son was diagnosed with a benign tumor in his brain five years ago and that this explains his behavior. FBI investigators flew to Israel a few weeks ago in order to take part in the investigation. The mother is now afraid that the U.S. will request that her son be extradited to America to stand trial.

The investigators have been searching for a motive and reviewing the possibility that M was working on behalf of a terrorist organization or received payment for the threats he made. However, no evidence regarding a possible motive has surfaced so far.



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