Charlie Abutbul was badly wounded in a hail of bullets inside a Netanya eatery on Monday.

Charlie Abutbul was badly wounded in a hail of bullets inside a Netanya eatery on Monday. The slugs intended for Abutbul also struck three innocent bystanders - proving yet again that local tough guys show no compunction about harming innocent "civilians," dozens of whom have been killed or wounded. The most recent was Marguerita Lautin, shot down on the Bat Yam beach in a botched hit allegedly commissioned by crime family boss Itzik Abergil against his former soldier Rami Amira. Abergil was detained after Lautin's murder, but no firm connection between him and the attempt on Amira's life could be established. The police will simply have to pull out all the stops to take on the mob. Only relatively recently did authorities even acknowledge the existence of six Jewish, and three Arab, organized crime families. But soon after the police admitted the mob was real, it said the force was too strapped for cash to overcome the bad guys. That was the police's line after the Netanya hit as well. The cops argue that "enormous" financial outlays are needed to yield the kind of intelligence that would stand up in court without jeopardizing their informants. But we are not totally convinced that the problem is money. The good news is that police now have a special unit, Lahav 433, devoted to fighting organized crime. Law enforcement is also trying to create a witness protection program. But the fledgling Lahav 433 unit is not yet fully up to speed or able, apparently, to counter the intimidation of witnesses. Some of Israel's crime bosses are actually more scared of the FBI's long arm than of our local authorities. It was American law enforcement that finally got the goods on Ze'ev Rosenstein - although he was allowed to do his time here, a convenient location from which to oversee his empire. Just as Abergil was dodging responsibility for the Lautin slaying, Washington requested his extradition, and that of his brother Meir, for a host of serious charges including commissioning murder. Meir wept unabashedly in court on Monday, saying he was "afraid" of America, where he's already done time.
Israelis are grateful when the American cavalry comes to our rescue; but isn't it too bad that our own law enforcement people can't seem to get the job done? And, anyway, American justice can only help with those criminals who operate in the States. The families of some confirmed terrorists need to worry about whether authorities are going to demolish their homes. Families of major domestic criminals who have spread terror in our streets should have, at least, to live with the fear that their homes could also be confiscated. For that, Israel needs a RICO of its own - the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which allows for the confiscation of a criminal organization's legitimate business assets. Let's take that one step further and put the personal assets of organized crime figures at risk. The tax laws need to be applied vigorously. Al Capone was sent up the river 80 years ago not for all the murders he commissioned, but for tax evasion. A task force has been set up - on paper - to investigate Israeli gangsters whose lavish lifestyles show no visible means of support. This effort needs to be accelerated, urgently, even if it means hiring certified accountants who can also shoot straight a la America's IRS.

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