Jerusalem Municipality inspectors and police evicted a tent encampment in
Jerusalem’s Independence Park early Monday morning, just a day-and-a-half after
activists from last year’s tent protests attempted to recreate “Camp No
Ovadia Ben-Avraham was sleeping in his tent at 6:30
a.m. when a dozen inspectors and policemen burst into the encampment.
After refusing to leave his tent, he said six policemen dragged him outside and
within a minute the entire encampment was dismantled.
“We are in the same
situation as the man who burned himself in Tel Aviv,” said Ben-Avraham,
referring to 58-year-old Haifa resident Moshe Silman, who was two weeks away
from homelessness. Ben-Avraham said most of the dozen people in Camp No Choice
are facing homelessness on August 1 as the year-long housing grants they
received last year expire.
“Camp No Choice was created last year in
Independence Park, and so we wanted to recreate it in the same place,” said
Ben-Avraham. Most of the people in this year’s encampment slept in Independence
Park last summer as well. The tents were set up on Saturday night, the one-year
anniversary of the social protest movement.
A municipality spokeswoman
said the city “sees great importance in providing the right to protest,” and
that the activists are welcome to create a new encampment across from the
Knesset in the Rose Garden. This is one of the sites approved for protest
encampments following last summer, when tent cities sprung up around the capital
during the social protests. The spokeswoman also said that the city notified
them that they would be evicting the tents before the eviction
Rabbis for Human Rights special projects director Rabbi Arik
Ascherman said it was due to the “vicious cycle of poverty” that the same people
who were homeless last summer are facing a similar situation again. The
Ma’abara housing activism organization is planning a solidarity march on Tuesday
to draw attention to the imminent homelessness faced by the Camp No Choice