Mobsters ‘fleeing’ Israel, top cop says

“It doesn’t matter where a criminal goes – we will find them,” Lahav 433 commander Menashe Arbib says.

Lahav 433 commander Menashe Arbib 370 (photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)
Lahav 433 commander Menashe Arbib 370
(photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)
Police see a continued migration of Israeli criminals abroad as they “flee” local law enforcement, Lahav 433 - National Crime Unit head Cmdr. Menashe Arbib said Thursday.
“For us it doesn’t matter where a criminal goes – we will find them and we have great coordination with law enforcement agencies abroad. Any of them who think they can be safe by going overseas are greatly mistaken,” Arbib said.
The Israeli and foreign press have widely reported on the high number of Israeli criminals who have set up shop abroad in recent years, particularly in Morocco, but also in countries such as Romania, where the Musli family runs highly lucrative casinos. Other popular spots in recent years include South Africa and Latin America, the latter providing a lucrative source of revenue from drug trafficking.
Arbib took issue with the term “crime organizations” as a description of the gangs in question. “The teachers association is an organization. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the Mossad are organizations. These are just groups of criminals who come together to make money and hurt people,” he said.
Arbib, whose unit is often referred to as “The Israeli FBI,” was speaking at an attorneys’ forum in Tel Aviv. He was asked about Israeli police efforts to fight serious crime, and came under fire for recent statements from law enforcement officials calling for expansions in the powers of police.
Attorney Moti Katz, who has represented organized crime figure Amir Mulner, said that while police are doing good work, they are getting carried away in their push for greater investigative freedoms. “If someone thinks that the Israel police can prevent a grenade from being thrown in Ashkelon by using administrative detentions, they’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater and doing damage to the public,” he said.
Katz added that the use of administrative detentions, which allow the detention of people suspected in security crimes without trial or charge, “would lead to us being a state that we wouldn’t want to live in.”
MK David Tsur, a former head of the Tel Aviv Police, said during the meeting that he was not in favor of using administrative detentions, but that courts needed to allow for more investigative material to be kept sealed in court, and not be made accessible to defense attorneys. This is a common view among police, who say that they sometimes have to accept plea bargains in order to not risk exposing their sources or intelligence in court.