(photo credit: INIMAGE)
A man who kept an explosive device at a school gymnasium in Petah Tikva was sentenced to four years in prison on Sunday, more than a year after the bomb was discovered.
Presiding Judge Erez Nurieli of the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court said during sentencing that the stiff punishment was given because: “The defendant put children in serious harm, as well as passersby and police,” and in order to deter the future use of explosives in this manner.
The defendant, custodian Eyal Yunger, 33, was arrested in May 2014 after the bomb was found inside his office in the school gymnasium at Brenner Middle School on Ein Ganim Street.
The bomb, which was discovered by police as part of what they said was an ongoing undercover sting, was large enough to kill a man, according to the police, which added that it was built to be remote-detonated.
After his arrest, Yunger claimed he found the bomb in the closet and called a friend, Alon Hachmon, who works as a crime reporter for The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew-language sister publications, The Israel Post and Ma’ariv.
Hachmon said Yunger did call him, but did not say what it was about, and made no mention of a bomb.
Police have said Yunger is not affiliated with any criminal organizations in Israel and has a very minor criminal record.
Nonetheless, due to the danger inherent in stashing explosives in a public area, and the fact that Yunger never expressed remorse, he was sentenced to what the presiding judge and prosecutors said is a stiff penalty for such an offense.
Yunger had been found guilty of charges including possession of a weapon and possession of drugs for personal use.
The discovery of the bomb was heavily covered in the press as it followed a series of underworld bombings, including a number in Petah Tikva.
The incident also followed several similar ones in recent years in which explosives or firearms were stashed at schools or other educational institutions, especially in the Arab sector.