The Tel Aviv municipality on Tuesday told tent city residents across town that they have until the Rosh Hashana holiday to dismantle their campsites.
The municipality’s announcement was issued by clerks who visited the tent cities on Rothschild, Nordau, and Ben-Gurion Boulevards, as well as Levinsky Park next to the new central bus station.
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The fliers, which were affixed by clerks to the tents along with single red roses, said that the municipality is on hand to assist campsite residents breaking down their tents, as well as those residents who lack housing and need help from the city’s department of social services.
When the notices were attached to tents on Rothschild Tuesday morning, a handful of residents blocked the street for several minutes until they were cleared away by police.
While there were some tent city residents vowing to make a stand when
the evictions are carried out by force, homeless tent city resident
Itzik Keidar said he had made up his mind over a week earlier that the
time had come to leave Rothschild.
“It’s become disgusting here. Everything is rotten and loud and crowded.
I already came to the decision before that I would move to a different
place,” Keidar said, adding “I’ll probably just pack up and move to a
Towards the end of Rothschild Boulevard, on the last block before
Allenby Street, three homeless men, one from Herzliya and the other two
Israeli-Arabs from Lod and Taybe, said that they would have nowhere to
go if an eviction is carried out. All three seemed to bear the haggard
stares and worn complexions of years of substance abuse and life on the
“Yossi,” the Herzliya native who did not want his name given, said he
has been homeless for more than two years and has no family to live
“We’ll stay here until we’re given a solution and we’ll fight it if they
try to kick us out,” he said half-heartedly, before adding “if they
manage to kick us out what can we do?” Yossi said that he and his
friends came to Rothschild partly out of support for the protest
movement, but also because they were already homeless “and had nowhere
else to go.”
Adham Haj-Yihyeh said he has been homeless since his family home in the
Israeli-Arab town of Taybeh was demolished by the Israel Lands
Administration, which he said took place two years ago.
Haj-Yihyeh, a father of three, said that if an eviction is carried out
by the authorities he will probably stay with his brother for a day or
two, before hitting the streets again somewhere far from Rothschild.
Like on most afternoons, the crowd at the Lewinsky Park tent city in
South Tel Aviv on Tuesday included a handful of passed-out barefoot
African migrants and a few homeless Israelis.
Rachel, a homeless resident of the tent city said that municipal clerks
came by to hand out roses and fliers on Tuesday morning, which she said
she took and immediately threw away. She also vowed to fight a possible
evacuation by force.
“We won’t evacuate here. We’ll block the streets and we’ll fight the evacuation.
Even if they manage to break down the tent city we’ll keep coming back. I
know there’s two ways this can end for me: the hospital or prison.”
Maayan Morgenvasser, a 22-year-old homeless Israeli eating pea soup out
of a plastic cup at Lewinsky on Tuesday afternoon said “I’ve been
homeless for four years and this is the most permanent place yet that
I’ve found to sleep.
I’ll also go to prison or the hospital if they come to evacuate us.”
One exception to the fliers handed out on Tuesday was the tent city in the impoverished Hatikvah quarter of Southeast Tel Aviv.
Sitting under a canopy in a tent city mainly inhabited by families,
Itzik Amsalem said that they have received no notifications from the
municipality, but that whatever happens “people who are homeless now
will be homeless then too.”
The father of four said that he will try to obtain a court injunction
against a future eviction, and added that all he is looking for is a
place to sleep – be it a trailer, an apartment or a campsite.
“If they take away my tent, will they then take away the bench I sleep
on after that? Will they take away the tree I sleep under.”