a different side of Israel

Tag: Criminals

Lieberman “If I’m indicted, I’ll quit all my political positions”

Avigdor LiebermanIs Avigdor Lieberman the big bad wolf, or really a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Following a number of allegations being made against him by the police for crimes that include money laundering, and accepting bribery, Israel’s Foreign Minister now appears to be ready test his popularity among his own party, Yisrael Beitenu, as well as the Likud led Netanyahu government. By threatening to leave political life, including heading his own party, his cabinet post, and even his Knesset seat, Lieberman hope to get his constituents to rally around him and in the end make him even stronger politically. This supposition became apparent when he stated yesterday that he believes that he will no only win out over the legal case that is built against him, but will even garnish more Knesset mandates (as many as 20) in the next election.

“I reviewed everything I said in the questioning sessions, and I am at peace with all of my actions,” he said. “If I had the opportunity to do things over again, I would do the same.”

The question a lot people are asking, what “things” is Lieberman talking about? Obviously, the F.M. still has a number of issues to work out concerning his activities, both business and political, which seem to be mounting up against him. Since being chosen for the second highest cabinet post behind the Prime Minister’s, Lieberman has not exactly won over most of the world as well as many people here in Israel. Only perhaps in Russia has he been able to find a bit of respect, as he sees eye to eye with people such as Russian P.M. Vladimir Putin. But in the rest of Europe, as well as the USA, his manner has been not well received by virtually everyone he has come in contact with.

Political circles in Jerusalem are already speculating as to who would replace Lieberman should he step down. Most likely, Deputy F.M. Danny Ayalon (a former ambassador to the USA) would temporarily replace him, which makes a lot people happy as Ayalon was very well liked during his tenure in Washington. As to who would replace him in his own party, right winged No. 2, Uzi Landau, would be a likely candidate; although his personal political views are a bit on the extreme side.

Kadima Party head Tzipi Livni doesn’t appear willing to join a Netanyahu led government, so her likelihood of again assuming the post is not likely at present. But in the game of Israeli politics, anything is possible, however.

But the police appear to be putting a case together against Lieberman, and are being backed up by former Police Chief Inspectors, and other high police officials. But Lieberman has managed to keep himself ahead of his accusers before, and could very well be successful again. It all depends on who really is running the police.

Abergil Crime Family “Relocated” to America

AbergilEven big time Israeli crime family members are going on relocation these days. Both Itzik and Meir Abergil, top members of the Abergil crime family are being “relocated” to the USA to explain their connection with a number of illegal activities there that they may been involved in. Some of these include murder, drug trafficking, money laundering, and extortion to name a few. Both Itzik and Meir claim they “have never been to America” and don’t know why they are being suspected in involvement in such activities over there (they certainly are involved in them here).

Besides being suspected being involved in the murder of an LA drug dealer, Sammy Atias, Itzik and his brother Meir are said to be involved in some money laundering activities connected with the Mercantile Bank, as well as importing large quantities of drugs into the USA, especially MDMA, otherwise known as Ecstasy, which is often used by young people at parties, along with alcohol. The Abergils now have the “distinction” of being considered among the 40 top drug and narcotics importers into the USA, alongside such as Russian Mafia folk and Colombian and Mexican drug cartel people.

The Abargils are said to have sent the hit men who were responsible for the killing of Bat Yam woman Margarita Lautin, who happened to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time when she got in the way of some 9MM slugs intended for a rival crime figure who was having coffee on the Bat Yam Promenade.

Finding a way to deal with Israeli crime figures has always been a problem however, as even when they are in jail here in Israel, they still manage to run their operations “from behind the walls”. By sending them overseas, especially to a country like the USA, at least gets them out of their realm for a while – like what occurred with crime boss Zeev Rosenstein; who spent nearly 3 years behind bars in a Miami Florida Federal prison, before an agreement was made to allow him to serve the rest of his sentence back in Israel. He was very glad to come back, saying he “didn’t like American prisons” Who does?

The big question now is whether Meir and Yitzik will get to be cellmates over there or will they be given the chance to make new acquaintances. We’re sure the FBI and American prison authorities will find a good place for them – and not together, of course. They just better watch out when they bend down to pick up the soap in the showers.

A Decade Later – Will Lieberman Finally Face the Music?

For such a young country that has sprung up out of the desert as a regional powerhouse in a matter of decades, Israel sure takes its sweet time when it comes to investigations and legal action against its leaders. An ongoing probe into Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that started back when I was in middle school (I’m now 25 and married) is now, finally, coming to a close. Lieberman is suspected of funneling millions of dollars through Cyprus for some good old-fashioned money laundering purposes.

We all have to ask ourselves what, indeed, went on these past 10 years that it took an entire decade to figure out what was going on? The answer, as far as I can tell, is lots of coffee breaks and paid sick days, with some coalition government deals helping the sloth along a bit.

The way coalition government deals work here is, let’s say a government controls 65 seats out of a 120-seat parliament. Now let’s say a big Russian guy named, oh, Avigdor Lieberman to pick a randomly preselected name out of a hat, heads a 15-seat faction in that government. If he leaves, then the government falls, which the Prime Minister doesn’t really want, because that would mean he doesn’t get to be Prime Minister anymore, which would make him sad. So Avigdor says something like, “Hey, Bibi, would you mind making sure the police take plenty of coffee breaks and paid sick days so I don’t get indicted for money laundering? That would be really convenient. I mean, I wouldn’t want to *cough* leave the *cough* government or anything.”

Oh, I don’t have a recording of this conversation or anything, but I’m willing to bet that coughing was involved in some way or another. It usually is in these government setups.

Weimar RepublicAnd most people don’t even know this, but the system of government on which the functionality of the Israeli Knesset is based is, actually, the Weimar Republic of post World War I Germany (flag on right) which quickly fell and led to the rise of the Third Reich. This is an encouraging statistic for those of us who like uneasy excitement in the world. For those of us who suffer from ulcers, it’s a different story.

As reported by Ynetnews, Dr. Aviad HaCohen of Sha’arei Mishpat Academic College was quoted as saying on the case that:

“Although this is complicated and intricate, there is no justification for spreading this over such a long period of time.” In a fit of understatement, he continued, “This is not just causing a delay of justice for Lieberman, but also casting a heavy shadow over the Israeli government.”

It’s hard to say if shadows can indeed be cast in the dark, with the glorious history of the Weimar Republic hanging over your head already.

And what happens if, at the close of the decade, by some sudden lack of a coffee break, Lieberman actually does get indicted? Given that Netanyahu’s coalition consists of no less than 6 parties, you’ve got the equivalent of a pack of hungry wolves converging on the steak that is his position as foreign minister. Given the fact that Lieberman can barely speak English, there are probably some more qualified people that may lay claim to the post, and make some new threats of their own about government stability for the 31st Israeli government in 61 years of statehood.

I’d recommend, for now, that the government take a daily intake of fiber to keep it regular, but I’m not sure that will *cough* work.

Supreme Court decides: Running someone over and leaving them for dead IS a crime

Judge Moshe DroriImagine that upon exiting a Jerusalem supermarket parking lot under video surveillance, somebody has the audacity to charge you. The supermarket clerk actually comes up to your car and asks for the money you refused to pay. So you can do one of two things. You can either pay and get on with your life, or you can leave without paying. Apparently—and I just today discovered this — there’s a third option, and it’s pretty original: You can hit the clerk with your car and drive off.

Judge Edmond LeviKeep in mind that this is all recorded. The man in question, a Yeshiva student and the son of the chief Rabbi of a major Israeli city, was let off by circuit court judge Moshe Drori (on the right) last September with community service and a 10,000 NIS fine without being convicted. This, due to the fact that a conviction would ruin his chances of being appointed a rabbinical court judge.

Now, far be it from me to impose my own personal value of not running people over with cars on the rabbinical court system, but I guess I’m just a far-be-it-from-me kind of guy, and I really feel like imposing my value in this case. And apparently I’m not alone, because today, Israel Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy (on the left), while theatrically pounding his fist on the table, imposed that value as well, and the Yeshiva student was convicted in an appeal yesterday.

Noga ZoraishThe rabbinical court system in Israel has often been accused, among other things, of misogyny, being completely out of touch with mainstream Israeli society, and judging converts by ultra strict Hareidi standards (for example, requiring a female potential convert to change her profession from policewoman to something that wouldn’t require her to wear pants). It’s too bad that these strict standards don’t apply to their judges and include forbidding running people over with your car because you don’t want to pay a bill.

Shas chairman Eli Yishai, in the traditional manner of Hareidi-pulling-for-Hareidi, put it this way in his letter to Drori last year requesting leniency:

“If a recommendation for non-conviction carries weight, then this is the time and place. Even now,” Yishai wrote of the accused, “he serves as a spiritual leader and an address for all those in need.”

Except, of course, for Noga Zoraish, the woman he ran over with his car.

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.

Thailand in Chaos

2 Israeli drug dealers were sentenced to death in Thailand. Their families accuse the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Kadima chairman, Ms. Tzipi Livni, of not intervening on their behalf when she could.

In addition, many Israeli tourists are temporarily stranded in the country due to its (yet another) military coup.

Crime is Contagious

A new research done in the Netherlands reconfirms a known social fact: Crime is contagious.

“But what do you do when the entire political system is corrupted and cynical? How can you avoid being infected?”


This is the sort of thoughts that go through my head, through many people’s heads. In February, we’ll arrive at the polling station with apathy.

So how can I avoid being infected with apathy?

End of Summer

* (en) Israel LocationWe’re quickly approaching the end of August. And even though we had some nice weather at the end of last week, it’s steaming hot in Israel at the moment. Nevertheless, the sky darkens a bit earlier.

Next week the school year begins, and hundreds of thousands of children will get off the streets and into the classrooms. One girl who might not ordinarily resume school is Rose from Netanya, who’s been missing for 3 months, and only two days ago came to the public’s attention. Today we learn that her step father is suspected of murdering her, and this story has a shocking similarity to the murder of Hodia Kedem 6 years ago by her father, as a twisted way of taking revenge at his ex-wife. We still don’t know if that’s the also the case this time, and the whole of Israel is hoping that Rose will eventually be found safe and sound.

On the environmental front, Israel is drier than it has been for many decades, and there is a real threat of entering a state of water shortage. Another consequence of the heat is the excess use of air conditioners and the resulting spread of allergies.

September 1st is a day dreaded by many, anticipated by many. But we still have a whole week to go.

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