Boy who planned synagogue attack in US ordered to write book report

By John Mercury December 20, 2023

A 13-year-old boy accused of planning an attack on a synagogue has been told by a US court he must write a report on a book about a Second World War diplomat who organised a Jewish rescue operation, according to court records.

The teenager was arrested in September over a plan to carry out an attack at the Temple Israel in Canton, Ohio.

According to a record of Friday’s hearing in the Stark County Family Court, he entered “true” pleas to counts of “inducing panic” and “disorderly conduct”.

Judge Jim James sentenced the boy – who was not named because of his age – to a year of probation.

The boy was also ordered to submit a report to the probation department about a book on Carl Lutz, a Swiss diplomat who saved thousands of Jews in Hungary from the Nazis.

Historians believe he was responsible for saving more than 62,000 people in Budapest by issuing protective passports in what is thought to be the biggest civilian rescue operation of the war.

The judge also ordered the boy should have no unsupervised use of the internet and should continue with counselling.

The teenager’s alleged plan came to the attention of the authorities before the 7 October attack by Hamas on Israel.

His sentencing comes amid a surge in reported antisemitic incidents across the US, according to Jewish advocacy groups such as the Anti-Defamation League.

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The group said on social media it was “horrified” by the case and expressed hope it could be a “teachable moment” for other young people.

The rise in antisemitic and Islamophobic rhetoric and alleged discrimination in American schools during Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza also prompted the US Education Department to open investigations last month into six colleges and one Kansas school district.

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