Aharonovitch meets ‘vigilante cops’ ahead of imprisonment

‘It is impossible to ignore the message being sent to police in the field’

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Israel Beiteinu) met Monday with a group of police officers set to enter prison on Tuesday for their role in a vigilante campaign against a Nahariya mobster who had threatened their lives.
Following the meeting, in which Aharonovitch comforted the four officers ahead of their prison sentence, the Public Security Ministry issued a statement saying that the meeting “does not at all constitute an appeal of the punishment handed down by the court” but instead was meant to show that “the minister gives his full backing to all police fighting on the front lines against crime.”
In response to the ruling, Aharonovitch added that “it is impossible to ignore the message being sent to police in the field.”
Officers Eldad Hadad, Yossi Levi, Yaniv Ashur and Rami Musa were convicted last July of carrying out a series of vigilante acts against reputed mobster Michael Mor and his associates, and were sentenced to a year in prison by a Haifa court last October. The Supreme Court rejected their appeal of the sentence on Sunday.
At the same time that the cops were sentenced to a year in prison, the target of their campaign, Mor, was given an 11-month sentence for threatening to attack judges and police.
During the meeting with Aharonovitch, the officers asked to receive a copy of the findings of an internal police report written by Israel Police Deputy Insp.-Gen. Cmdr. Ilan Franco on the affair.
On October 22, 2006, a bomb exploded on the windshield of a car belonging to Mor’s nephew Rafi Ben- Shalom, causing damage to an adjacent building. An additional bomb was fixed to the bottom of Mor’s car but was found and neutralized before it could be detonated. Both bombs were packed with gunpowder and small steel particles.
Investigators eventually tracked the bombs back to the vigilante cops.
The sentencing of the four officers was met with widespread outrage in the law enforcement community, with many saying that the courts were punishing police who were only trying to protect themselves and their families, and felt they had nowhere else to turn.