|South Tel Aviv house hit by Molotov cocktail_370.(Photo by: Ben Hartman)|
Mayor to PM: Deal with migrants before it's too late
By BEN HARTMAN
TA Mayor calls on Netanyahu take action to deal with African migrant issue; residents say they're purchasing pepper spray for protection.
Against the backdrop of two recent firebombings on the African community of
south Tel Aviv, Mayor Ron Huldai has called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
to take immediate action.
In the letter, Huldai classified the situation
in south Tel Aviv as “exploding today before our eyes.”
exploiting the desperation of the area, which is declining into violence, racism
and crime – the peak of which we witnessed over the past weekend,” he wrote.
“The government of Israel must enact immediate decisions before it is too
On Monday, Huldai posted the letter to Netanyahu on his Facebook
page, which he penned on April 29 – two days after four different buildings
housing African migrants, including a kindergarten, were hit by Molotov
cocktails thrown by unknown assailants. In a separate incident on Saturday
night, two Molotov cocktails were thrown at a three-story house in the Hatikva
neighborhood, inhabited by migrants from Nigeria.
In the letter, Huldai
said: “I am turning to you again as the head of the government of Israel, to
take responsibility for the desperate and difficult situation that the residents
of the city are forced to deal with every day.”
He maintained that the
city cannot wait until construction is finished on the Egypt border fence,
warning that Tel Aviv needs help dealing with the thousands of “migrants and
infiltrators” already in the city, who if left to their own devices will
eventually turn to crime.
“Tens of thousands of migrant workers and
infiltrators are already here, thousands more join them every month, and no one
in the government is taking responsibility for dealing with them,” Huldai said.
“It is impossible to ignore their needs as human beings and to expect that they
won’t turn to crime.”
Placing the onus on the Israeli government, he said
the city does not have the necessary resources to deal with the issue and called
on the state to provide essential budgetary supplements.
provided no suggestions for how the state can respond to the issue, but offered
the help of city officials in formulating policies and programs.
said on Monday that they have yet to receive a response from Netanyahu or his
The south Tel Aviv residents’ working committee sent a letter to
Netanyahu on Sunday, saying that due to “increased violence and the neglect of
the police,” they have decided to purchase protective gear and pepper spray to
help defend against what they called a wave of violence directed at veteran
residents by African migrants in the city’s south.
The letter was penned
by Shlomo Maslawi, Tel Aviv city councilman and working committee head, who said
the purchase of the gear is “a desperate attempt by residents of the south to
return the sense of security that they have lost entirely.”
asks Netanyahu to end the government’s “eyes-shut policy on infiltrators,” and
provide assistance to the undermanned police. “Rape, robbery, violence and
verbal slurs have become daily routine without any response from authorities,”
Maslawi wrote. “The police say they can’t deal with the situation.
is an impossible situation that represents a total failure by the
The letter also calls on Netanyahu to declare a national
state of emergency to deal with the migrant issue.
Maslawi told The
Jerusalem Post that residents are not yet certain how much pepper spray or
protective gear they will acquire, but that they are looking for donors who can
help supply the gear and have called on the municipality to provide
He said that the pepper spray will first be given to the elderly
and young girls, who are most in need of means for self-defense.
are over 50,000 African migrants and asylum seekers in Tel Aviv, according to
government figures. According to the Population, Immigration and Borders
Authority, around 7,000 people have infiltrated Israel’s southern border since
the beginning of 2012.