Ephraim Sneh publicly decried criminal extortion in his campaignads, only to have his car torched in apparent retaliation outsidehis home in Herzliya.Background------------ ¶5. (SBU) Organized criminal activity is not a new phenomenon inIsrael, and major crime families are well known to the Israelipublic (the Alperons even featured in a recent reality televisionprogram). Five or six crime families have traditionally dominatedOC in Israel, although the names and makeup of these syndicates haveﬂuctuated in recent years. The Abergil, Abutbul, Alperon, andRosenstein organizations are among the most well known, but recentarrests and assassinations have created a power vacuum at the top.New names such as Mulner, Shirazi, Cohen and Domrani have movedquickly to ﬁll the gap. Other up-and-coming groups include theHarari, Ohana, and Kdoshim families. There are also a number ofrival families active in the underworld of Israel's Arab sector. ¶6. (SBU) Traditional OC activities in Israel include illegalneighborhood casinos, prostitution rings, extortion, and loansharking, with each family controlling a different geographicregion. The Alperon family, for instance, dominates the Sharonregion, while the Abutbul operation is based in the coastal city ofNetanya. The focus is largely on easy money guaranteed by thelimited use of violence. Criminal involvement in the recyclingbusiness, for example, has been well covered in the press. OCfamilies collect bottles illegally from municipal recycling bins andrestaurants, return them at the collection centers claiming twicethe actual numbers, and pocket the change for millions in proﬁts.Not Your Grandfather's Mob--------------------------- ¶7. (SBU) Despite their notoriety, OC ﬁgures have generally beenviewed as a nuisance to be handled by local police. Law enforcementresources were directed to more existential security threats fromterrorists and enemy states. In recent years, however, the rules ofthe game have changed. According to Yaakov Lappin of the JerusalemPost, the old school of Israel OC is giving way to a new, moreviolent, breed of crime. Lappin told conoffs that the new style ofcrime features knowledge of hi-tech explosives acquired from servicein the Israeli Defense Forces, and a willingness to useindiscriminate violence, at least against rival gang leaders. New
ISRAEL: A PROMISED LAND FOR ORGANIZED CRIME?