Noga ("Venus" in Hebrew) was the name of one of the girls in my class. She had been born to Jewish-Egyptian parents. There was no way of ignoring that; her surname was the one of an extremely prominent Arabic-Muslim dynasty. She was discriminated against by the kibbutz and thus was in a situation similar to mine. I could mumble some Spanish; she could answer in hesitant Ladino. One day, we were sitting next to each other in a class (there was no set sitting order; that would have been reactionary!) and the name "Alperon" was mentioned. At that moment, she sat taller in her uncomfortable chair; her eyes showed a sudden spark. "Do you know him?" I asked in wonder. The Alperon family, also from Egyptian ancestry, was infamous for running mafia operations in the big city, Tel Aviv. "They are what is left of our pride," she told me with a smile.
Years later, I was in Bethlehem, speaking with one of my sergeants. He was closely related to the police; he performed casual works as an informant and was unaware of my knowing that. Following a violent event in Tel Aviv, which had involved the Alperon family, we were talking about them. "Do you know what is their cover story?" He was teasing me. Israelis have an annoying way of boasting on any piece of unusual knowledge they may have.
"No," I answered dryly; I disliked those games.
"They sell pitta bread; they have a bakery in ...," his description was so detailed that it was difficult to dismiss it as a lie.
"Come on, you don't get rich by selling bread for a dime," I answered.
Pitta is the cheapest bread in the Holy Land. His claim sounded like a joke. "Ma'afia" means "bakery" in Hebrew; what were the chances that the local mafia ran a "ma'afia?"
"If you had a restaurant and the Alperon family would approach you and kindly ask to buy their bread, would you refuse?" His answer was convincing. Since that moment, pitta bread tasted differently; it had an aftertaste of pride.
At 1PM, on January 10, 2013, and not far from that bakery, Nissim Alperon was driving his Mazda Lantis 323 through the roads surrounding the Azrieli Towers, when a motorbike approached his car. The driver attached a bag to the driver's door and drove away. A passenger of a nearby bus reported these details and added that the driver immediately left the car and bravely began chasing the motorbike. Almost immediately, the bomb in the bag exploded. It was the eighth assassination attempt against him in twelve years. In 2000 and 2012 he had survived similar attacks. Laughing at the tedious routine, Nissim left the scene unscathed.
Nissim Alperon Assassination Attempt | Tel Aviv, January 10, 2013
His survival is remarkable. At least nine people in the immediate surroundings were hurt, the windows of a bus bypassing his car were shattered. The car was completely burnt. In November 2008, his older brother Ya'akov, who at the time led the clan, was assassinated nearby when his car passed over a bomb on the corner of Pinkas Street and Namir Road; Nissim is clearly more resilient. In 2000, he and five others were injured when a booby-trapped motorbike exploded on Rashi Street. In 2002, Nissim and his bodyguard overcame a hitman who had been sent to kill him. In 2003, he was shot at in two separate events. In 2006, a bomb exploded in his car wash business, but he was not hurt. In 2007, he survived two attempts; one while sitting in a cafe in Ramat Gan, the second at his house. In the second event police officers prevented the murder at the last moment. A police officer was injured in the shooting, and one of the hitmen was injured and arrested. In June 2012, he survived a motorbike bomb-attack at the same spot where the 2000 attack took place. Nissim Alperon is a serial survivor.