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Police inspect the scene of an explosion that killed crime figure Yaacov Alperon in 2008(Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images.)

  Forty years ago, poor, crime-ridden Israeli neighborhoods were often ruled by a local mobster. It was a Godfather-style situation: the bosses were feared, but they were also respected as protectors for those who played by their rules. But today’s Israeli mafia is something quite different, younger, greedier, more ambitious, and far more reckless. In 2006, Tablet contributing editor Douglas Century visited Hatikva, a neighborhood in south Tel Aviv that spawned some of the more deadly modern mafiosi. Accompanied by Ilan Benshoshan, who grew up there, Century met gangsters, drug dealers, pimps, and a frightened populace trying to steer clear of the violence. Vox Tablet’s Sara Ivry spoke to the pair for a street-level view of today’s Israeli mob.





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