Yaakov Alperon (Hebrew: יעקב אלפרון; February 18, 1955 – November 17, 2008) was an Israeli mobster who was murdered in a car bomb attack. He was reputed to have run Tel Aviv's third-largest crime family, the Alperon crime family.
Alperon was born in 1955 to a poor family of immigrants from Egypt and grew up in a small apartment in Givat Shmuel. He and his brothers learned boxing and began taking over small businesses in the area. The family gained power by protection racket in the Gush Dan area. Alperon was first arrested in his twenties. In 1993, he was jailed for 4.5 years after the police busted his extortion company. Two of his brothers, Nissim and Zalman, were also convicted.
Alperon's enemies included Zeev Rosenstein, a drug lord who had also been the target of murder attempts. Alperon also battled with the rival Abutbul and Abergil families over money from bottle recycling, an industry that brings in $5 million a year, based on police estimates. As part of a protection racket offered to restaurant owners, the businesses would pay for the mobsters' "services" by leaving empty bottles, which would leave no documentation and could be redeemed for cash to provide an apparently legitimate revenue source.
In March 2004, Israeli police arrested four suspected contract killers from Belarus who had been found with weapons, including explosives and shoulder-held missiles, at their hideout. The arrested hit men had been accused of involvement in a failed murder attempt against Yaakov Alperon in December 2003, and earlier attempts that same year against Alperon's brother Nissim and another attack against a member of a crime family linked with the Alperons.
At a January 2, 2006, summit held at a hotel north of Tel Aviv intended to address their differences, Alperon met with rival gangster Amir Mulner. Guns and knives were used after the arbitration efforts failed, and Mulner was stabbed in the neck, allegedly by Alperon. Yaakov Alperon and his son went into hiding and were not found despite a two-month nationwide search. The two turned themselves into police custody. In March 2006, Alperon and his brother Reuven were charged with "making threats, attempted assault, and intentionally damaging a car" for their involvement in the incident.
An article published in Haaretz shortly before his death indicated that Alperon had been involved in heating oil schemes with other gangsters. Alperon had also been involved in setting up internet cafés during a time when few had computer access at home, in which the fee paid for use of the computer would be paid in cash to the restaurant and would then be used to gamble on the computer. The internet business was shut down in spring 2002 after mounting costs started to exceed the gambling revenues.
Alperon had served prison terms on multiple occasions and had just been released from a 10-month prison sentence he had served as part of a plea deal. He had been arrested for stabbings, assault, blackmail and intimidation over the course of his career.
53 year old Alperon was killed on November 17, 2008, by a bomb explosion in his white Volkswagen Jetta, at the crowded Tel Aviv intersection of Yehuda HaMaccabi Street and Namir Road. At least three other people were wounded in the attack, including a 13-year-old boy. Police were trying to determine the identity of a vehicle that had been spotted driving away from the site of the explosion. The body was identified as wearing the same shirt that Alperon had been wearing in court for the indictment of his son on unrelated charges.
His funeral on November 18, 2008, at Ra'anana Cemetery was attended by thousands, including several known Israeli underworld figures. At the grave site, one of Alperon's sons was quoted as saying that "We will find the man who did this. I'll send this man to God. He won't have a grave because I'll cut off his arms, his head, and his legs".
Alperon's brother Nissim Alperon survived several assassination attempts, including one in 2000, 2002, 2006, 2012, 2013 and two in 2003 and 2007, some of which involved car bombs. As reported, a car explosion in Tel Aviv in January 2013, lightly wounding seven people, may have been a further assassination attempt against him, but he managed to escape unscathed.
- Wood, Paul. "Israeli 'mafia' boss assassinated", BBC News, November 17, 2008. Accessed November 17, 2008.
- Yarohimovich, Ilya (2008-11-17). "Yaakov Alperon - 30 Years of Crime.". nana10. Retrieved 2008-11-19. (Hebrew)
- Staff and Associated Press. "Mobster Yaakov Alperon assassinated", Jerusalem Post, November 17, 2008. Accessed November 17, 2008.
- Weisman, Steve via Associated Press. "Police nab suspected hit men in Israel's bloody mob wars", The San Diego Union-Tribune, March 9, 2004. Accessed November 17, 2008.
- Heller, Aron. "Suspected Israeli Mob Boss Extradited", Associated Press, March 6, 2006. Accessed November 17, 2008.
- Grayeff, Yigal. "Stabbing suspect turns himself in", Jerusalem Post, February 22, 2006. Accessed November 17, 2008.
- Staff. "Yaakov Alperon indicted for fight in TA restaurant", The Jerusalem Post, March 27, 2006. Accessed November 17, 2008.
- Weitz, Gidi; and Blau, Uri. "Losing streak", Haaretz, November 13, 2008. Accessed November 17, 2008.
- Selig, Abe. "Alperon's son: I'll cut off killer's arms and legs", The Jerusalem Post, November 18, 2008.
- Amir Mulner guilty as charged Jerusalem Post, September 7, 2009
- Kubovich, Yaniv. "Car explodes in apparent mob-linked attack in Tel Aviv, at least seven hurt" Haaretz, January 10, 2013