Hundreds Attend Underworld Figure Ya'akov Alperon's Funeral

Not a single suspect was interviewed yesterday by the Tel Aviv Police in connection to Monday's killing of crime boss Ya'akov Alperon, but certain family members have already said that revenge is just a matter of time. His brother Zalman and his widow, Ahuva, however, said it is God who will deal with the perpetrators.

Hundreds of acquaintances and business partners of Alperon, including ones labeled by police as major criminals and intelligence targets, rolled up to the family home in Ra'anana yesterday in flashy cars and SUVs to pay their respects. These included Rico Shirazi and his son Shai, brother Roni and Yossi Harari, and Shlomo "Sheli" ("king of the gray market") Narkis, accompanied by his attorney, Ilan Azolay.

Just before 1 P.M. an ambulance containing the coffin holding Alperon's body arrived at the family home. Relatives gathered around; some wanted to be near to the body and to touch it.

At the same time, Alperon's son Dror and another family member were transported via Israel Prison Service vans from the detention facility where they are being held, after receiving the court's permission to attend the funeral.

The funeral procession set out from the home to the new cemetery in Ra'anana, just a few kilometers away, accompanied by hundreds of people, including a large number riding motor scooters and motorcycles and honking their horns.

Among the several hundred mourners crowding into the funeral home were the heads of local crime families with whom Alperon once worked, as well as hundreds of family associates. They were guarded by large numbers of police officer, uniformed as well as plainclothes, partly in hopes of gathering intelligence.

The coffin was brought in, brother Zalman recited mourner's kaddish over it, and then family members carried the coffin to the grave to the sound of rabbis chanting prayers.

It was only after the mourners, led by Alperon's brothers Nissim, Zalman, Aryeh and Musa and his sister Shoshana, as well as Ahuva and the couple's younger children, that Dror and the other family member were brought into the funeral home, surrounded by Prison Service guards and Nahshon security force officers.

A near riot developed as mourners sought to approach Dror and others to comfort them. The Nahshon members formed a ring around the sons and prevented anyone from getting close to them.

At the burial, Dror said kaddish and then Zalman gave a eulogy.

The Alperons' son Omer interrupted the proceedings, and in a voice choked with tears said, "We'll send whoever did this to the heavens, he will not have a grave, after we remove his head we'll remove his arms."

His family tried to comfort him, and his mother Ahuva said later that she did not want to cause more suffering to innocent civilians, requesting that revenge not be sought against her husband's killers.

Alperon's daughter Kim also delivered a eulogy, saying, "I want people to remember my father as I knew him, always helping, always smiling, nothing like what the media made him out to be, a father who never missed a school play."

Alperon's sister Shoshana, considered for many years as the head of the extended family before she became religiously observant, lingered at the gravesite long after the funeral.

"God willing those who [killed Ya'akov] will have the same thing done to his children. Kill, and be killed. We're not suckers and we know many things that even the police don't know," she said. "We never dealt with bombs and explosives, and the person who did this was a lowly coward. Once, we solved problems with a conversation, in a meeting. It's not like that anymore."

Associates of the family echoed Shoshana's remarks, saying that no one believes the murder will not be avenged, and that it is only a matter of time.

Eli Cohen, Shay Nudel and Guy Friedman, Alperon's attorneys for many years, were among the mourners.

"The enormous quantity of people who were here today is something I've never seen before," said a man who is considered to be close to the family. "Ya'akov may have been a criminal but he wasn't a scary criminal, he was 'old-school,' and maybe he simply never got used to the new world and to the technology that killed him in the end."

The Tel Aviv Central Division detectives who are investigating the hit together with members of the Lahav 433 unit of Israel Police National Headquarters still have no leads regarding the perpetrators of Alperon's murder, according to a senior police source. The source said yesterday that in contrast to previous cases they are in no rush to arrest suspects until they have sufficient evidence.