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Nothing to sneeze at

Israeli children’s TV star questioned in connection to drug ring

A cellphone seized by police allegedly contains the names of numerous high-profile clients of a VIP cocaine delivery service, with Yuval Hamebulbal among them

Yaakov Schwartz is The Times of Israel's deputy Jewish World editor.

Israeli children's TV star, Yuval Shem Tov. (Wikimedia commons/ Rachel Naim)
Israeli children's TV star, Yuval Shem Tov. (Wikimedia commons/ Rachel Naim)

Beloved children’s television star Yuval Shem Tov, also known as Yuval Hamebulbal, or Yuval the Befuddled, seemingly has been self-medicating for his chronic confusion – with cocaine.

A police sting two weeks ago on an apartment located on Tel Aviv’s Carlebach Street, it was reported Wednesday, resulted in three arrests in connection to widespread distribution of the drug throughout the country.

According to the Kan public broadcaster, two of the suspects have been released with some restrictions, while the remand of the main suspect has been extended by the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court. An indictment is expected Thursday.

A brother and sister, along with another unnamed 28-year-old male, were questioned in connection to the narcotics sales, and a stash of cannabis and cocaine was seized along with cellphones suspected of being used by the drug traffickers.

Police found a list of suspected clients on one of the phones, many of whose names are recognizable to the Israeli public – Shem Tov among them. Also listed were actors, lawyers, a model, and an American journalist.

According to Kan, the traffickers are suspected of running a courier service delivering high-quality cocaine to the VIP customers, who paid an astronomical NIS 2,000 ($560) per gram.

Dozens of deals were allegedly recorded, and some of the customers had a long history of repeat business.

It was further reported that dozens of suspected customers were questioned by police, including Shem Tov, who admitted to purchasing cocaine several times, but insisted that it was for his own personal use only. However, a Channel 10 report claimed that Shem Tov referred clients to the dealers in exchange for a discounted rate on his own drugs.

Shem Tov, 45, lives in Neve Yarak, a moshav in central Israel, with his wife and six children.

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