Court extends remand in plot to harm Tel Aviv official

Haim Gavrieli and his alleged associate Eitan Buzaglo suspected of trying to harm Eli Levy over land dispute that has dragged on for decades in various courts.

December 4, 2011 02:27
2 minute read.

Handcuffed 150 R. (photo credit: Reuters/Benoit Tessier)

The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court extended on Friday for the third time the remand of two men arrested on suspicion of plotting to harm a senior Tel Aviv municipal employee.

Haim Gavrieli and his alleged associate Eitan Buzaglo were arrested on November 25. Police suspected them of trying to harm Eli Levy, the head of the Tel Aviv Municipality’s property division, over a land dispute that has dragged on for decades in various courts.

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Police suspect Gavrieli of paying a “mercenary” to harm Levy, after the municipal official tried to advance plans to evacuate him from the land, a 0.35-hectare (0.865-acre) plot on Zarah Barnet Street in the pricey Shabazi section of Neveh Tzedek in south Tel Aviv.

Police say, however, that the man Gavrieli tried to hire to attack Levy was in fact an undercover police agent.

Buzaglo, a resident of Holon, was arrested on suspicion of acting as a go-between for Gavrieli, and attempting to hire the “mercenary.”

Gavrieli’s attorney, Maya Stol, asked that Gavrieli be released to house arrest, and told the court that her client was 60 years old and was suffering from an illness.

Gavrieli fell while in custody and suffered two skull fractures.

Judge Tzahi Ouziel, in agreeing to extend the arrest of both men for five days, said, however, that the offenses attributed to them were serious and included plotting to use violence to disturb public order.

The State Attorney’s Office is expected to file an indictment against both men this week, when the remand extension runs out.

The land, which Gavrieli has allegedly occupied since 1976, when the Shabazi area was little more than a crumbling slum, belongs to the Israel Lands Authority.

Gavrieli claims that his family has held the land since the state was established, but for decades the municipality has tried to reclaim it. In 2005, Gavrieli, whose niece is former Likud MK Inbal Gavrieli, tried to enlist then-cabinet minister Ehud Olmert’s help over the dispute.

In the past decade, Shabazi and the surrounding Neveh Tzedek neighborhood have become one of the wealthiest areas in Tel Aviv, with luxury building projects sprouting up on every corner. Building permits have been granted for the disputed land, which make it worth hundreds of millions of shekels.

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