|Photo by: Ricardo Mallaco|
Woman found murdered in bathroom at TA bus station
By BEN HARTMAN
Store owners at bus station mall say their businesses suffer from the station's negative image.
Police have opened an investigation into the brutal murder of a woman in her 40s
found dead in a bathroom stall at the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station on Tuesday
Police were informed of the crime by the bus station’s security,
who called dispatchers at 9 a.m. to report the discovery of a body in a pay
bathroom on the station’s third floor.
Police summoned paramedics who
rushed to the station only to pronounce the woman dead at the scene.
of Tuesday afternoon, police were keeping a tight lid on the details of the
investigation, issuing a strict media ban on their findings.
much-maligned central bus station has suffered for years from a reputation as
one of the least desirable locales in Israel. A concrete eyesore spanning 4.5
hectares (12 acres) next to the Neveh Sha’anan district, the bus station is
associated with the vice and violent crime of the surrounding blocks and
sidestreets of south Tel Aviv, a neighborhood most commonly- referred to as “the
central bus station area.”
Violence has by no means been confined to the
surrounding streets, however. In 2010, a 60-year-old Israeli man was murdered
during a robbery in a store on the mall’s fourth-floor, and that same year,
there were three cases of rape in the mall’s bathrooms and corridors.
bus station’s mall was supposed to become the main shopping attraction in Tel
Aviv when it opened in 1993, but most shoppers left years ago for Azrieli Mall
and the Ayalon Mall in Ramat Gan, leaving the station as a destination only for
bus commuters and residents of south Tel Aviv, particularly from the foreign
Today, throughout the complex, massive concrete
expanses are neglected and vacant, with deserted corridors running off in all
directions. The size of the complex and its location in Tel Aviv’s most-blighted
district have made it a favorite haunt of junkies over the years.
Benyamini, the head of security for the central bus station, said that despite
the station’s image, most cases of violence in recent years have been in the
area surrounding the bus station, and that most incidents inside the station
have been confined to drunkenness or fistfights.
Benyamini, who runs a
staff of 36 security guards, said the station has not seen an increase in
violent incidents or calls for help in the past few years, as tens of thousands
of illegal African migrants have moved to the neighborhoods surrounding the
Benyamini also said that the area where the body was found is
one of those in the mall covered by CCTV cameras, and that police are currently
checking the footage for any leads.
Nissim Shahar, 63, has run a small
tailoring operation since the mall opened in 1993, located only a few meters
from where Monday night’s murder took place.
Shahar blamed the bombings
that took place near the bus station during the second intifada for driving off
customers, adding that “it’s not fair; we get connected to every single bad
thing that happens in south Tel Aviv.”
Shahar said that he and the rest
of the businesses next to his only open around 10 a.m., and said that there are
no shoppers around at the hour the body was found.
Angel Ya’acov, a store
owner at the bus station, said Tuesday that “these incidents destroy things for
us because people are terrified to come here.”
He added that the area had
suffered from a bad image for years, mainly due to incidents such as this, but
also, because of what he said is negative media coverage.
station is fine.
There are so many great businesses here, but the media
always ruins it for us.”