(photo credit: INIMAGE)
Police on Tuesday arrested a suspect in the murder of the ex-wife of a mobster turned state’s witness, who was gunned down in front of her three children while parked on a Beersheba street on March 7.
The suspect was described by police as a man in his 30s from Beersheba. No further details were given due to a gag order on the case.
Witnesses said that a gunman fired several shots from point blank range at Dvora Hirsch, 30, before fleeing the scene. Her three children sitting in the back seat of her car at the time were unharmed.
Hirsch was rushed to Soroka- University Medical Center in Beersheba where she was pronounced dead.
Hirsch’s ex-husband, whose identity is banned from publication, had for years been a top lieutenant in the biggest crime family in Beersheba before turning state’s witness.
His testimony served as the backbone to the case that saw the crime boss and four associates convicted in 2009 on a series of organized crime charges including extortion and conspiracy. The indictments also cited the use of hand grenades to extort and intimidate rivals, as well as one case in which they allegedly threw a hand grenade at a local Beersheba journalist who had written critically about the crime family.
Hirsch and her husband were relocated to the United States as part of the witness protection program, but moved back to Israel a few years later. It’s not clear why they left the program. Hirsch divorced her husband at the beginning of this year.
Hirsch’s ex-husband never shied from the limelight. Not long before he moved abroad, he gave an interview to Channel 2 with his face unobscured, in which he spoke openly about his life of crime.
He also wrote a blog about his life as a mobster.
After Hirsch’s murder, detectives also began investigating the ex-husband, due to a history of death threats he’d made against his ex-wife. He is currently in Shikma Prison in Ashkelon serving time for domestic violence. He has also been indicted for uttering threats against Hirsch, including one made in September 2015 from a prison telephone, in which he said that “When I get out, they [the couples’ children] will become orphans. I’ll murder you, I’ll slaughter you.”
Less than a week after Hirsch’s murder, underworld figure Avner Maio was killed by a bomb placed in his jeep in north Tel Aviv. Maio was set to be a witness in the state’s case against eight members of the Musli crime family – one of the most powerful and wealthy crime families in the country.
The indictment includes the murder of three members of the rival Abergil crime family, and was built largely on the testimony given by a former top associate of the Musli family who is currently in the witness protection program with his family. That witness’s brother was murdered in South Africa in November 2013, in what investigators believe was meant as a warning to the witness and other potential informants.