Israeli Crime Boss Arrested in Murder of State Witness' Ex-wife

Gang leader Yaniv Zagori has already been charged in the murder of the former state witness

Police at the scene of the murder of Devora Hirsch in 2016.
Eliyahu Herschkovitz

Crime boss Yaniv Zagori was arrested Monday as a suspect in the 2016 murder of Devora Hirsch, the ex-wife of former state’s witness Tal Kurkus.

Zagori has been charged in the June 2017 murder of Kurkus and was already in custody awaiting trial.

Devora Hirsch.
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A second man was arrested Monday in connection to Hirsch’s murder, and last week seven individuals were arrested.

Hirsch was killed in March 2016 while in her car with her children outside her Be’er Sheva home, just 500 meters from the Southern District police headquarters. Several suspects were questioned but no one was charged.

Kurkus had worked for Zagori before turning state’s evidence and testifying against him. Kurkus and his family were placed in a witness protection program abroad, but left it and returned to Israel. Kurkus was in custody at the time of his ex-wife’s murder.

Kurkus was killed outside a gambling den in an Ashkelon apartment last year. Zagori was extradited from China, where he fled after Hirsch’s murder. He and Michael Mor, also an organized-crime boss, were charged in Kurkus’ murder.