The Beersheba District Court on Sunday sentenced alleged mob boss Shalom Domrani to 15 months in prison, endorsing a plea bargain he struck with the state on May 27.
Domrani plead guilty to lesser charges and received nine months in prison on top of the six he has already served for meddling with the municipal elections in Netivot.
Many saw the agreement as too lenient and a missed chance to keep a feared crime boss off the streets, but the case was always viewed as a difficult one with no smoking guns.
A victory for the state that may have made the deal more likely was convincing the Supreme Court on December 30 to keep Domrani in jail until the end of the trial.
Domrani’s lawyer, Moshe Sherman, who appeared genuinely shocked that his client was not released on bail after having hammered away at the prosecution’s case in a magistrate’s court hearing, said that “the case is one of the most pathetic in Israeli history.”
According to the Beersheba District Court that first denied Domrani bail, the critical point was that his story, that he just happened to visit the influential Rabbi Ya’acov Ifergan (also known as “The X-ray”) on election day and strictly at Ifergan’s request (as opposed to the charges that he threatened the rabbi about the elections), along with the other evidence against him, was too unbelievable at this pretrial stage.
In light of his viewing the evidence, the judge said that Domrani must be held in custody until the end of his trial, because it was likely that he had committed dangerous acts of threatening opposition campaign activists’ lives and caused broad harm to the Netivot public regarding the election.
Domrani’s trial opened in December with his arraignment and with Sherman berating the prosecution for failing to produce evidence it had promised, and for not obtaining a timely order of confidential privilege from the court regarding any “intelligence” evidence it was claiming it could not hand over to the defense.
At the November hearing, the prosecution alleged that Domrani threatened various rabbis and political players not to campaign in Netivot on municipal election day.
According to the indictment, Domrani threatened Ifergan to get him to end his support of Eyal Masika in the mayoral elections, as part of a conspiracy with Ifergan’s rabbinic rival, Rabbi Yoram Abergil, to advance candidate Yehiel Zohar, who won reelection.