NY Teen Arraigned for Threatening Yeshiva, Assistant Principal

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Rabbi Yossi Bennett, Assistant Principal of Mesivta Ateres Yaakov, was the apparent target of Joel Levys threats.

Rabbi Yossi Bennett, Assistant Principal of Mesivta Ateres Yaakov, was the apparent target of Joel Levys threats.
Rabbi Yossi Bennett, Assistant Principal of Mesivta Ateres Yaakov, was the apparent target of Joel Levys threats.
A Jewish high school student in Long Island has been arrested and arraigned in court after threatening to blow up his Yeshiva. Nassau County Police say the 16-year-old student at the Mesivta Ateres Yaakov School in Lawrence, Long Island, was arrested after he posted threats on his Facebook page, which were later brought to the attention of the school principal.

The yeshiva had to be evacuated for about two hours last week, and the student, Joel Levy, was arrested and charged with making a terrorist threat, a felony, and aggravated harassment, The New York Post reported. He was arraigned last Wednesday at First District Court in Hempstead.

Mesivta Ateres Yaakov does not plan to press charges, assistant principal Rabbi Yossi Bennett told the Post.

The threats, which have not been delineated in reports, came a day after two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring over 170 others.

Prosecutors at Levy’s arraignment outlined to the District Court judge how the teenager’s anger was primarily aimed at the yeshiva’s assistant principal, Rabbi Yossi Bennett, for suspending Levy after the student was caught texting in the middle of class. They read aloud portions of Levy’s Facebook posting, wherein he asserted that he possessed “all kinds of explosives,” and stated that “Bennett’s office” was his key target. Levy allegedly wrote that he had a desire to “blind, torture and maim” the rabbi with “nails.”

“Friends” of the teenager on Facebook notified the authorities about his threats after they saw the postings. Rabbi Bennett explained to the police that he had suspended Levy because the student would not give over his cell phone when requested and subsequently “stormed” out of the school following the texting incident.

Judge Douglas Lerose issued a protective order against Levy that forbade him from contacting Rabbi Bennett, and set the youngster’s bail at $50,000. Levy was released later in the day after he posted bond.

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