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Tag: Netanya

Underworld Crime Boss Gets 13 Years

Netanya crime boss Asi Abutbul appears to be finally going “up the river” following his being sentenced to 13 years in prison for his role as one of Israel’s top criminal gang leaders. The former resident of Netanya’s Ramat Poleg neighborhood, and nephew of slain underworld figure Felix Abutbul (who was gunned down outside his casino in Prag, Czech Republic), may have run out of luck in regards to his being able to “beat the rap” on a number of criminal charges that had been brought up against him, including extortion, money laundering, and other crimes that are now listed under the framework of a new criminal justice law, designed to catch such high profile criminals.

Besides 13 years in the slammer, he was also sentenced to another two year suspended sentence, as fined NIS 500,000 ($125,000).

Asi AbutbulAbutbul has been in trouble with the law for a number of years, especially in the areas of extortion, where he and his fellow “associates’ have use all kinds of violent tactics to get “protection money” from business people, including wealthy immigrants from France.

Assi has also escaped a number of attempts on his life, including an attempt to hit his car in Ramat Poleg with an anti-tank missile. Besides the death of his uncle Felix, another uncle, Charley Abutbul, was seriously wounded when he was shot down in his Netanya restaurant by rival gang members a couple of years ago.

The State Attorney’s Office was trying to put Assi away for a lot longer, and had originally asked for a much longer sentence (25 years), which Assi’s lawyers managed to get whittled down by half. Still, 13 years is a long time for a guy who used to bee seen eating in local restaurants, surrounded by bodyguards. State Attorney spokespersons noted that Abutbul’s name was often used as a way of threatening local people to either pay large sums of “protection money” to Abutbul or “face the consequences”. He has a “long list of violations” according to Israeli criminal law, many of which have added to his notoriety over the years. His top legal “mouthpiece”, Yoram Chacham, was “permanently removed” (killed) a year ago.

Other Israeli crime bosses, including Ricco Shirazi, and Yitzhak Abergil, are also frequently mentioned in the news; as well as Zeev Rosenstein, who was recently returned from being a “guest” of the U.S. Federal Penitentiary in Miami Florida, for his role in a large international drug deal. Rosenstein is now a “guest” of Israeli prison authorities.

British Invading Netanya

Netanya has always been a popular resort city as well as permanent domicile for English and French speaking people who love its relaxed atmosphere and numerous beaches. More recently, however, this city of 120,000 and located only 30 kilometers from Tel Aviv, has become especially attractive to British Jews who are purchasing apartments from the many new building projects that have been going up all over the city.

Israel Beach ParasurfingWhy is this city so attractive, as compared to others? For one thing, it’s close proximity to Tel Aviv, as well as being a straight commute route for those who take public transport make the city convenient for those who either do not own a car or prefer to take a more relaxed form of transport such as an air conditioned bus or train straight into the “big city”. Another thing that for years has been a drawing card for Netanya has been the many active immigrant organizations for English speaking people. Some of these include the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI) and the Hitachdut Oleh Brittania (HOB). Both organizations accept English speakers who are not originating from a particular county, so “Anglo Saxons”, as English speakers are called, often belong to several organizations in order to take advantage of the social and cultural programs being offered.

As many Anglo Olim are also religious or traditional (Masorati) Jews, they like to be situated near a synagogue so they can walk there on Shabbat. For this reason, many of these English speakers like to live in the center of the city where a number of synagogues that are popular with ‘Anglos” are located; including the New Synagogue on McDonald Street, the Young Israel Shul on Shaul Hamelech, and the Masorati Beit Yisrael Synagogue on Yehuda Hanasei Street. Any one of these synagogues are readily accessible for people living on popular “Anglo Saxon streets” such as Nitza Blvd, Mohl, or Shlomo Hamelech.

Other areas of the city, especially in Netanya’s new southern districts are fast becoming popular with new, English speaking arrivals. These areas include the sea front section between the Carmel Hotel (where a new “Anglo” Synagogue is situated) and the Beit Goldmitz soldiers’ rest house. A variety of new projects are going up in this area, with apartment prices beginning at $300,000 for a three roomer. Many French speakers are also buying in this area as they love to be close to “La Mer”.

A third area that is presently undergoing a virtual building boom is the neighborhood known as Ramat Poleg. Ramat Poleg was the first luxurious neighborhood of private and semi detached homes which has always been heavily occupied by English speakers as well as many well known Netanya “personalities”. The neighborhood has grown considerably in size with the addition of multiple high rise building projects. Presently, a new series of building projects are going up on what was once a vacant area facing the sea. At least 12 new projects are currently under construction, and planes for the area also include luxury hotels and a new shopping mall complex. Rumor has it that scores of Anglos have already purchased apartments in these new projects, particularly ones like “Ir Yamim” (Sea City) and “Dankner on Sea.”

Another popular area, especially for younger Anglo Olim with families, is the new area in Eastern Netanya near the city’s academic college.

Netanya’s municipal authorities are doing their utmost to promote their city; and this includes a number of new parks and other attractions to make these newcomers feel “at home”.

Bend It Like Maccabi Netanya

Bend it like.. So, has he started packing? You never can tell. For the relatively low amount of €7.5 million, three years after purchase at €35 million, FC Real Madrid is willing to say bye-bye to their famous number 23 Sir David Beckham. At the same time, elsewhere, German newspaper “Frankfurter Neue Presse” reports that the President of Maccabi Netanya Soccer Club, millionaire Daniel Jammer, seems to have a lot of faith in his team, but believes a help from one not-so-anonymous player might get it going even better.

Jammer admits he played with the idea and simply did not object when he was asked if he’d be willing to host the star on the Israeli team. Who wouldn’t? Meanwhile Maccabi Netanya players and followers enjoy a real good laugh, estimating that it might take the new player awhile to get things sorted out and he would have to seat on the bench at first.

Maccabi NetanyaThe people in the “Frankfurter” took the same news item much more seriously, as it appears. After really thinking it through they came up with interesting insights into the weighty reasons for which most celebrated football player Beckham would reject the offer to play for the Israeli team. First of all, Israel, as we all know, is a terror struck area. Beckham might also not be so tempted to play in the Israeli league for its mediocre level. And let us not forget Mrs. “Posh” Beckham, who would probably not be too enthusiastic as to getting herself and her three young children to leave their current home in Spain for Israel.

But, wait, what’s so bad about living in Netanya, Israel? Wasn’t it just last week that an Aussie tourist declared Netanya women the best looking women in the whole world?

Netanya’s Disappearing Natural Habitat

The city of Netanya, like many of Israel’s central population centers, has experienced a sharp increase in residential and commercial building during the past decade. With a population now surpassing the 150,000 mark, partially due to the influx of new Olim (immigrants) from the former Soviet Union during the early to mid 1990’s, this coastal city is experiencing a building boom that is very much evident in many areas including Ramat Poleg.
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