התמונה של זאב רוזנשטיין
Zeev Rosenstein
Photo: Eran Yofi Cohen
Zeev Rosenstein

Notorious kingpin Rosenstein to be released on parole

The 67-year-old crime boss, nicknamed 'The Wolf', was one of the most powerful people in Israel's underworld, for years evading both arrests and assassinations by his enemies, eventually being convicted for drug smuggling in 2004

Meir Turgeman, Yoram Yarkoni |
Published: 02.15.21 , 18:57
Zeev Rosenstein, once Israel's most wanted criminal boss, was set to be released after serving 17 years in prison, following a decision by the Prison Service's parole board.
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  • Speaking to his lawyer, the 67-year-old said he was "happy to go back home."
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    התמונה של זאב רוזנשטיין
    התמונה של זאב רוזנשטיין
    Zeev Rosenstein
    (Photo: Eran Yofi Cohen)
    Rosenstein was a key player in the country's underworld throughout the 80s and 90s, being hunted by police detectives for almost every crime imaginable, but managing to escape conviction every time.
    Rosenstein, who was nicknamed "The Wolf," lived a very lavish life, residing at a secured villa in the central city of Hod Hasharon, driven in an armored Mercedes and always escorted by his personal bodyguards.
    His numerous enemies, among them fellow crime bosses the Abergil Brothers, tried numerous times to kill him but failed, saying that it was not only luck but the ineptitude of his would-be assassins that kept him alive.
    In 1996, while driving in his armored car in Tel Aviv's Shlomo Ibn Gabirol Street, a car passed by Rosenstein and opened fire, only injuring him lightly.
    Three suspects were arrested, among them Ilan Aslan whose brother was killed three years earlier, with police suspecting Rosenstein ordered the hit.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    The 2003 attempt on Rosenstein's life in Tel Aviv
    The 2003 attempt on Rosenstein's life in Tel Aviv
    The 2003 attempt on Rosenstein's life in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Michael Kramer)
    Aslan and the other two suspects disappeared a year after their release, with their bodies found many years later.
    In 2003, Rosenstein was nearly killed when an explosive device went off near home in Yehuda Halevi Street in Tel Aviv. The incident, which caused much public rage, resulted in three innocent bystanders killed and many more wounded.
    Later that year, Rosenstein again survived an explosive device, this time in northern Tel Aviv, with his bodyguard seriously hurt and himself sustaining only light wounds.
    Police eventually managed to get their hands on Rosenstein with help from U.S. law enforcement, where he was wanted for smuggling millions of ecstasy pills.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Rosenstein in court with his lawyer
    Rosenstein in court with his lawyer
    Rosenstein in court with his lawyer
    (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
    In 2004, he was arrested in Israel and extradited to the U.S., where he was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
    While serving time, Rosenstein was another 5 years for conspiring to commit a crime.
    After numerous requests, the parole board on Sunday agreed to shorten his sentence by 9 months.
    "The prisoner admitted and expressed remorse and shame for his involvement in the offenses, his behavior profile indicates a person with a good ability to control impulses, as well as being fatigued from prison life and the world of crime and a willingness to cooperate with a rehabilitative procedure. His release does not endanger public peace," said retired judge Moshe Meklis in his decision.
    The State Prosecution filled an interjection, stating that Rosenstein is still connected to underworld activities, citing police intelligence.

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