Court rejects appeal to delay evictions of Ethiopian immigrants from absorption center

Some 450 families live in the absorption center, all olim from Ethiopia.

August 30, 2017 23:44
2 minute read.
Court rejects appeal to delay evictions of Ethiopian immigrants from absorption center

PROTESTING THE planned eviction of residents from the Mevaseret Zion absorption center, demonstrators hold signs, one of which reads ‘Without a solution, we will commit suicide,’ outside the Supreme Court. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday an appeal by the residents of the Mevaseret Zion absorption center to receive an injunction to prevent their eviction, which is set for September 4.

Justices Uri Shoham, George Karra and David Mintz said in their decision that they grant the state authorities the option to delay the eviction. They added that they hope that the authorities involved – the Aliya and Integration Ministry and the Jewish Agency – will provide the residents with acceptable alternative housing, but did not obligate them to do so.

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During the discussion the justices suggested to both sides to agree to a three-month delay in which the residents could find alternative housing. The residents rejected the offer and claimed that accepting the offer would be the equivalent of accepting the eviction itself.

Meanwhile, it was reported that the agency offered the residents housing in other absorption centers, while the absorption center in Mevaseret Zion will be sold to private real estate entrepreneurs.

Some 450 families live in the absorption center, all olim from Ethiopia.

Tlahun Tarekegn, a 27-yearold resident of the absorption center in Mevaseret Zion and a prominent activist against the eviction, said moving to another center would mean going back to square one.

“I have already lived in an absorption center in Beersheba after I came here; then they moved me to Mevaseret,” Tarekegn said. “I thought that this is one step before my full integration, but it seems like we are not moving forward.”

Before the discussion dozens gathered outside the court to protest against the eviction. The protesters were holding signs reading ”We want a permanent solution” and “Without a solution we will commit suicide – the writing is on the wall.”

MK Avraham Neguise (Likud), chairman of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, told The Jerusalem Post at the court that this a sad day for the entire oleh community.

“These people have nowhere to go now,” he said. “The [Aliya and Integration] Ministry does not provide a permanent solution for the immigrants.

“Some of them might be moved to other absorption centers, but others will be sent to the streets,” he added.

Neguise said not finding a solution for them undermines the state’s goal to integrate olim and make them productive citizens.

Nadav Ha’etzni, who represents the absorption center residents, criticized the court for not ruling that the ministry and the agency are obligated to find a proper solution.

“This is a special society with special needs, and unfortunately the court was not convinced,” he told the Post.

“Now the ball is in the hands of the state. The problem is still there, and it will not disappear just because of the court ruling,” he added.

Ha’etzni said it would be a black stain on society if no proper solution is found.

“They are a weak, disoriented group, and I hope that they will not be mistreated,” he said.

MK Yossi Yonah (Zionist Union), who follows this battle and provides assistance to the residents, called the court decision “miserable.”

“It releases the Aliya Ministry from its duty to take care of the residents,” he said. “On the basis of the vision of the Declaration of Independence, I call on Aliya and Integration Minister Sofa Landver and the government not to abandon our olim.”

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