Cops Probe Possible Arson at Ex-minister's Law Offices

A fire broke out at former minister Moshe Shachal's law office yesterday, and police suspect arson. The fire seriously damaged two floors of the Tel Aviv building.

Around 10 A.M. on the morning of Simhat Torah, neighbors on Ben Zakai Street noticed smoke and called the fire department. Firefighters quickly controlled the blaze. There were no injuries, but the third and fourth floors sustained serious damage.

The police and fire department began investigating, but no suspects have been arrested yet.

The 1920s building is marked for preservation, and considered to be of historical value.

Shachal's law firm has 15 lawyers, and clients include the Clalit HMO, Migdal Insurance, Harel Insurance, the Mivtachim pension fund, and the Baha'i World Center. The firm specializes in commercial law, in particular insurance, torts and energy. The lawyers often deal with medical malpractice and personal injury cases.

Attorney Ofer Shachal, Moshe's son and a partner in the firm, said yesterday that they did not know who could have started the fire or why. Only part of the offices were damaged, and the firm would continue working, he said.