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.
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.
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.
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.