Chief police investigator: 'We don't want to be Chicago'

Danino promises tough action in wake of lawyer's assassination on Tel Aviv street.

Danino 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Danino 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The car bombing which killed criminal lawyer Yoram Hacham in downtown Tel Aviv last week will not go unanswered by law enforcement, Israel Police Investigations Department Chief Cmdr. Yochanan Danino vowed before the Knesset on Monday. "The police will not go back to a normal agenda after the murder of Hacham," Danino said, addressing the Knesset's Internal Affairs Committee. During the meeting, Internal Affairs Committee member MK Dov Henin (Hadash) compared the state of organized crime in Israel to the gangster-ridden Chicago of the 1920s. "In the past, we in Israel asked if this was Chicago. Today, they're asking in Chicago if this is Israel," he said. "We really aren't in Chicago and we don't want to be Chicago," Danino replied. "The statistics regarding crime in Israel are low compared to any place in the Western world." Last week, the committee reacted furiously to a police decision not to send a representative to the meeting to discuss the Hacham case, citing a court-imposed gag order on the details of the investigation. The police eventually succumbed to the Knesset's pressure, resulting in Hacham's appearance, though the investigations head was not at liberty to discuss the current lines of inquires being pursed by detectives. Danino doubted the importance of an earlier report aired by Army Radio which said police failed to receive a message from the Israel Prisons Service containing intelligence of a plot to kill Hacham. "That wasn't a message which could be counted on and which could determine whether action should be taken or not… the drama around the message or the apparent technical error [which prevented it from being passed on] is not founded on reality," he said. Commitee chairman MK Ophir Paz-Pines (Labor) said, "Following the murder, there is a growing sense among members of the public of an escalation in the culture of crime which must not be accepted. The underworld is running its shady businesses in broad daylight, without fear." His comments were echoed by MK Shlomo Molla (Kadima), who said that "there is no sense of security on the Israeli street." Yitzhak Ben-Best, a nephew of the deceased lawyer, described his uncle as "the Israeli we all want to become. We must prevent the spread of violence against public people - doctors, prime ministers, judges, and lawyers - those that serve us."