Police: Illegal Palestinian Laborers Renovated Home of Basketball Star

Investigators say Palestinians were hired to do construction work at the home of Lior Eliyahu.

Yuval Goren
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Yuval Goren

Police alleged on Tuesday that illegal Palestinian workers from the West Bank were hired to do construction projects at the Petah Tikva home of basketball star Lior Eliyahu.

Eliyahu's father, who is suspected of employing one of the Palestinians as a contractor, is expected to undergo police questioning on Tuesday.

Law enforcement officials say that Eliyahu, who is scheduled to play a basketball game Tuesday night with his club Caja Laboral Vitoria in Spain, will be questioned only if it becomes apparent to investigators that he was aware his father employed illegal workers at their home.

In recent days, police have been in the midst of an investigation of a West Bank Palestinian who is suspected of illegally employing other Palestinians in the Petah Tikva area.

Investigators say the Palestinian would arrange overnight stays for the workers at the homes which they were hired to renovate.

As part of the investigation, a policewoman impersonated a homeowner who contacted the Palestinian contractor in hopes of hiring him to renovate her home.

The unsuspecting contractor told the policewoman that he is interested in the job, and that he can provide workers to help finish the project but that at the moment he was busy with revamping the home of Lior Eliyahu. The Palestinian then invited the policewoman to observe the work firsthand.

On Monday, the policewoman arrived at Eliyahu's home, where she noticed five illegal Palestinian laborers on the premises.

The officer also saw mattresses, a propane tank, pots and pans, and food all gathered in one of the rooms of the house, indicating that the laborers had stayed in the home for an extended period of time.

After the police identified the contractor on the site, officers raided the home and took him and the workers into custody. The contractor is charged with employing illegal workers as well as forgery of documents.