Israeli crime syndicate leader assassinated in Ramle

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said he will ask Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mobilize the Shin Bet to fight crime syndicates.

 Ali Jarushi, senior leader of the Jarushi crime family in the Israeli criminal underworld. (photo credit: MOR ALONI)
Ali Jarushi, senior leader of the Jarushi crime family in the Israeli criminal underworld.
(photo credit: MOR ALONI)

Ali Jarushi, a leader of the Jarushi crime family and a major figure in the Israeli criminal underworld, was assassinated in Ramle overnight on Thursday, dying of gunshot wounds while hospitalized at Shamir Medical Center early Friday morning, Israeli media reported.

The hospital noted that the man was brought to the hospital in critical condition but passed away despite the medical teams' best efforts to stabilize him.

Police are currently increasing their presence in the area out of fear of possible violent reprisal attacks. The identity of the shooter or the motivation for the attack is currently unknown. However, according to KAN, police are aware that Ali Jarushi was part of a faction within the family that is embroiled in conflict with another family member, Zaid Jarushi, who was allegedly behind the assassination of his nephew Hatem Jarushi in Jerusalem. According to Haaretz, this feud within the family may have already resulted in several deaths. 

Israel's Itamar Ben-Gvir vows to fight crime with Shin Bet

Around the same time, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said he planned on asking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for permission to mobilize the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) in order to take on Israel's crime syndicates – something that was included as part of the coalition deal between the Likud and Otzma Yehudit.

 Otzma Yehudit leader MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel's far-right agitator. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM) Otzma Yehudit leader MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel's far-right agitator. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Ben-Gvir explained that while he appreciates the effort of the police, the Shin Bet will need to work alongside them.

"Mobilizing the Shin Bet cannot be avoided in order to tackle a phenomenon that is becoming a scourge," the minister said, noting that the Shin Bet can "gather more quality intelligence and use investigative authorities not granted to police."

Who are Israel's notorious Jarushi crime family?

The Jarushi family is one of Israel's most dangerous and violent crime families, having waged a violent blood feud with a rival crime syndicate in 2021 as well as another violent war with the rival Qarajah family in the 1990s that required government intervention.

Based out of Ramle, the Jarushi is one of Israel's oldest, strongest and most stable crime syndicates, ranked alongside the Abu Latif and Hariri families as the leading Arab sector crime families

Ali Jarushi in particular was a well-known underworld figure to the Israeli public, having featured on an episode of Channel 13's show True Face.

Notably, during that interview, Jarushi described how the decision is made for the crime organization to have someone murdered, stressing that "No one gets murdered for no reason" and that the decision is made by a "forum" of sorts, as recounted by Ynet.

The Jarushi family's main sources of income range from gambling, drug dealing, illegal arms trade, debt collection, "gray market" money loans and racketeering, according to a report in Jerusalem Mynet.

In addition, the Jarushi have also been known for their ties with the Likud Party, with a corruption probe in 2017 highlighting that one of their members, Hussam Jarushi, had allegedly helped cover the debts of then-coalition chairman Likud MK David Bitan. The probe also implied the involvement of Bitan's wife Hagit and then-Rishon Lezion mayor Dov Zur.

It is suspected that Bitan advanced the interests of organized crime figures, such as Hussam Jarushi, in exchange for assisting him in erasing alleged debts to the criminal entities.

Bitan was forced to resign as coalition chairman due to the incident, though he had insisted on refusing to answer police questioning and he still sits as an MK to this day.

However, Bitan was officially indicted in 2021 by then-attorney-general Avichai Mandelblit on charges of bribery, money laundering, fraud, breach of trust and tax offenses totaling NIS 715,000.

This is a developing story.

Udi Shaham, Eliav Breuer and Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.