Israeli mafia

Israeli mafia

The Israeli mafia is the general term for organized crime groups operating in Israel.

Israeli organized crime

According to Israeli National Police spokesman Gil Kleiman, although there is a substantial presence of organized criminal gangs in Israel, they have not succeeded in infiltrating the establishment as for example gangsters such as Al Capone who had judges, police chiefs and other authority figures in his pocket. Mr Kleiman also said that since the September 11th attacks a lot of police resources were diverted to fighting terrorism rather than organized crime, leading to a resurgence in gangland violence. In December 2003, three men were killed by a bomb in Tel Aviv meant for a local crime boss. [ Israel struggles to keep a lid on crime] , BBC News, June 7, 2004]

The Israeli mafia in the United States

Israeli mobsters have a presence in the United States.

In New York City in the late 1980's Yehuda “Johnny” Attias operated a criminal organization heavily involved in drug trafficking, making millions through importing heroin from Amsterdam and Thailand as well as hashish from Turkey. They also pulled off the biggest gold heist in the history of Manhattan's jewelery district, getting away with over $4 million in gold jewelery. However Attias was ultimately murdered in January 1990, and New York's Israeli mafia fell apart soon after. Several members such as Ron Gonen had turned informant and the authorities arrested the rest of the gang in September of that year. [Dave Copeland, "Blood and Volume: Inside New York's Israeli Mafia" ISBN 1569803277]

The Israeli mafia (such as the Abergil crime family) is heavily involved in ecstasy trafficking in America [ Israel struggles to keep a lid on crime] , BBC News, June 7, 2004] and were allegedly the suppliers to former Gambino crime family underboss Sammy Gravano in his Arizona drug ring. Gravano's main drug supplier was New York based Israeli mobster, Ilan Zarger. [ FBI and the mafia: A tale of betrayal] , BBC News, May 30, 2001] [ Ecstasy Dealer Sold To Gravano, Feds Say] , New York Daily News, July 7, 2000] [ Gravano and Son Are to Enter Guilty Pleas in Ecstasy Case] , The New York Times, May 25, 2001] . Reportedly Israeli criminal organizations are trying to move into Las Vegas, to control the drug and prostitution rackets in the city. [ Israel struggles to keep a lid on crime] , BBC News, June 7, 2004]

Russian organized crime in Israel

Russian organized crime in Israel began with the mass immigration of Russian Jews to Israel after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. [Glenny, pp. 120-1] An underground society of criminals and youth gangs developed quickly, encouraged by the increasing permissiveness of parts of Israel like Tel Aviv during the 1990s. The groups established networks and activities in narcotics, prostitution and human trafficking which still exist today, and their operations are often funded by the Russian mafia.

By 1998, 750 000 Russian Jews had immigrated to Israel following the collapse of the Soviet Union. [cite web | url= | title=How Russia's mafia is taking over Israel's underworld | accessdate=2008-06-14 | date=1998-11-21]

Israel appealed to the organized crime bosses after 1989 for a number of reasons. Firstly, the Russian mafia saw it as an ideal place to launder money, as Israel's banking system was designed to encourage aliyah, the immigration of Jews, and the accompanying capital. [Glenny, 2008. pp. 130-1] Following the trend of global financial deregulation, Israel had also implemented legislation aimed at easing the movement of capital. Combined with the lack of anti-money laundering legislation, Russian organised crime found it an easy place to transfer ill-gotten gains. In 2005, police estimated that Russian organised crime had laundered between $5 and 10 billion in the fifteen years since the end of the Soviet Union.Glenny, 2008. p. 131]

The other reason for Israel's popularity among Russian organized crime bosses was the fact that many were Jewish. Instead of being discriminated against and penalised in the Soviet Union for being Jewish, the bosses, who often posed as legitimate businessmen to gain a Israeli passport, were, in the words of Misha Glenny, "welcomed as valuable and respected additions to the family". Even non-Jewish criminals, such as Sergei Mikhailov, were given citizenship of Israel. For these criminals, an Israeli passport was also seen as a door to the outside world.

Notable members

* Abergil Crime Family
* Asi Abutbul & family
* Ludwig Fainberg
* Zeev Rosenstein

ee also

* Ron Gonen
* Jewish-American organized crime



*cite book |title=McMafia: Crime Without Frontiers |last=Glenny |first=Misha |authorlink=Misha Glenny |year=2008 |publisher=The Bodley Head |location=London |isbn=978-0-224-07503-9

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