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Police and Thieves

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(Don't) stop the wedding

 

In case you were worried, Dror Alperon will be marrying his fiancée Tuesday night, less than a week after he was arrested in connection to a double murder in Petah Tikva in June.
 
Dror, his aunt Haya, and his cousin Reuben Partush have all been released, and by the end of the week the remaining two suspects Eli Partush and Asher Gini also stand to be set free.
 
Dror Alperon (far right) during a court hearing in Tel Aviv in April (Photo: Ben Hartman)
 
 
The police case against the suspects is a convoluted story of revenge for a beat-down delivered over a small time debt. According to police, Partush owed money to Eli Reuben, who ran a “grey market” bank in Petah Tikvah, and was beaten by Reuben and his associates. Eli Reuben was later shot and wounded and not long after, both Eli Orkabi, an associate of Reuben, and Eran Fartush were shot dead in the drive-by shooting in Petah Tikva.
 
The double murder didn't make nearly as much waves as the two recent car bombs directed at the Domrani organization or the bombing of a Tel Aviv prosecutor's car last month. Nonetheless, it had all the right ingredients to stir public outrage: a gangland hit in broad daylight in a quiet suburban neighborhood, meters away from a kindergarten and a high school, that left an innocent bystander, Eran Fartush, dead at the scene for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
 
At the moment, it appears unlikely that any of the five suspects will be indicted, yet another highly-publicized arrest that yields nothing.
 
Since the gang war in southern Israel exploded in late October, the police have launched an all-out media campaign to show the public they are winning the battle against organized crime, come what may. They have rushed up cases against gangsters like Avi Ruhan (arrested last month for his alleged role in a car bombing that killed two in Petah Tikva in July, only to be released the next week) as well as a number of his associates and men linked to Amir Mulner, the Jawrushi family, and others. The case against Shalom Domrani also appears to some extent to be half-baked, an indictment against one of Israel's most feared and powerful crime bosses for what amounts to a number of rather unclear threats that were not recorded.
 
Since late October, the National Police headquarters has sent out announcements on a daily basis with the headline “the battle against organized crime”, followed by news of arrests of suspects linked to crime families, usually for weapons or drug charges but also often for extortion. The time and location of the court hearings are given to the press, while the suspect's release a week or so later is done without any police fanfare, like in the case of Dror Alperon on Monday. (for those joining the program late, Dror is the son of mobster Yaakov Alperon, murdered in a car bomb in Tel Aviv in 2008)
 
Along the way, the Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino and the Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharanovich have made statements about the need to wage a relentless war against organized crime with the resources to match. Those statements have tapered off since, but they'll return if things heat up again.
 
The Israel Police are often maligned by the media and the public, but it's worth noting that they include a high number of very-talented, highly-motivated individuals who have had a lot of success in fighting organized crime. They know very well that building strong cases that can secure indictments and win convictions takes time and patience.
 
Unfortunately, patience is rarely seen by the public or the media as a virtue when cars are exploding in Ashkelon and Tel Aviv and the higher-ups are calling for a war.
 
In the case of the Alperons, Mazel Tov to the happy couple.  
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