Amakim District Police officers arrested reputed crime boss Yaakov Alperon in Tiberias on Friday for carrying a kitchen knife in his car.
Alperon, who claimed that the knife was used to peel fruit, was brought before Judge Irit Hod of the Nazareth Magistrates' Court, who was critical of the officers' conduct and ordered that Alperon be released immediately.
The police representatives asked to appeal the ruling, and the judge agreed to delay Alperon's release by 30 hours.
"I found no justification for keeping the suspect in custody, particularly in light of the fact that the details of the investigation were revealed to me only after hearing the police representative," Judge Hod said and ordered that Alperon be released on bail by 7 pm, at which point the police representatives said they planned to appeal the ruling.
'An absurd situation'
Alperon was vacationing with his wife and three children in Tiberias when he was arrested while sitting with friends at a local coffee shop.
According to his attorney, Yaniv Segev, police officers approached his client, asked to see his identification card and then searched his car, in which the knife, a broken club and tear gas were found.
"An absurd situation has arisen in which the Alperon family is 'guilty until proven otherwise'," the attorney said. "This is wrong and against the law."
Some two months ago Alperon was handed a one-and-a-half year suspended sentence and was ordered to pay a NIS 20,000 (about $5,700) fine after being convicted of carrying a knife during a scuffle between members of his mob and a rival gang in a Tel Aviv restaurant in March 2006.
Alperon's son Elad was arrested about a week-and-a-half ago along with three of his friends after a number of knives and a bottle containing gasoline were found in his Mercedes.
A few days prior to Elad's arrest another one of Alperon's sons, Dror, was arrested for suspicion of shattering a parked car's windshield with a rock in Raanana. He is also suspected of assaulting officers who arrived at the scene.