Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Probe Possible Land Sale Fraud

August 15, 1985
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Three Israelis are being held in jail as police continue a large-scale investigation into possible fraud involving land sales on the West Bank. Tel Aviv Judge Binyamin Kohelet said yesterday the alleged land fraud case “could turn out extremely serious, with implications beyond the criminal aspects.”

Kohelet made this comment as he ordered one of the suspects in the alleged land fraud case, Michael Oren, held for four days. He was arrested a month ago. At the same time, Judge Uri Strosman of the Tel Aviv District Court extended by 15 days the time two other suspects, Yehoshua Mizrachi and Avraham Selim, will be held in custody. They have already been in jail 15 days.

The police are investigating whether fraud was involved in large sales of land on the West Bank from Arabs to Jewish contractors and companies. Because Arabs are prohibited by Jordan and intimidated by the PLO from transacting land deals with the Jews directly, most of these transactions have taken place through intermediaries, thus creating potential for fraud. The poor nature of land registration in the West Bank has also raised the suspicion that Arabs have sold land which did not belong to them.

Police suspect Mizrachi and Selim of forging documents to enable them to transact illegal land sales on the West Bank. Their attorney, Menachem Rubinstein, presented Judge Strosman with a note Sunday bearing the name of a prominent political personality who, he claimed, gave his blessing to the sales. Rejecting this defense yesterday, Strosman said the “prominent political personality” was neither prominent, nor an elected official, nor a personality.

Recommended from JTA