Rothschild Tents 311.
(photo credit: Linda Epstein)
Three homeless people filed a petition with the Tel Aviv District Court against
the Tel Aviv Municipality and the police on Tuesday, asking for an injunction to
prevent the municipality from evicting them from public spaces in the
The petitioners claim that municipal inspectors make late-night
visits to public places where homeless people congregate to sleep, including
Rabin Square and Levinsky Park in south Tel Aviv, in order to confiscate their
belongings and forcibly evict them.
The city inspectors have said that
homeless people cannot gather together to sleep in public spaces, the
petitioners also assert.
The petition, which was filed with the
assistance of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, contends that the
evictions are illegal, and that the municipality does not have the authority to
The petition comes after the municipality evacuated the
protest encampment on Rothschild Boulevard just over a week ago.
three homeless petitioners argue that the city’s homeless population created a
supportive community in the Rothschild encampment, but have been left without a
place to sleep after it was evacuated.
One of the petitioners, who asked
not to be named, is a 43- year-old man who claims to have been on the waiting
list for public housing for over 20 years. He claims to have spent last winter
sleeping in the Dolphinarium on the city’s beachfront, and then moved to the
Rothschild encampment in the summer.
Though those homeless people who
spent the summer in the encampment have now been moved on, the petitioners claim
that municipal officials and the Green Patrol continue to evict them as they try
to sleep in other public spaces.
In evicting the homeless from public
spaces, the municipality is trying to push them “out of sight, out of mind,”
attorney Gil Gan-Mor, head of the ACRI’s housing rights department, said on
Gan-Mor also accused city hall of trying to “break the spirits
of homeless people, and break the cohesion that has grown over the summer among
the activist groups that are trying to help them find permanent
“Instead of helping [the homeless], the city operates by
isolating and removing them, embittering their lives and pushing them to act as
every man for himself, so that they will remain out of sight on the margins of
the city and society,” he said.
The petition goes further, arguing that
forcing vulnerable homeless people to the edges of society exposes them to
They point to the fatal alleged beating of homeless
Rishon Lezion man, Vladimir Spivak, in September. Police later arrested four
men, including two minors, on suspicion of beating Spivak to
Ultimately, the municipality’s evictions of homeless people from
public spaces were illegal, they assert.
In the petition, Shelo points to
the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty, which states that a person’s life,
body or dignity must not be violated. A specific legal provision is required to
deny a homeless person the freedom to remain in a certain place, or to remove
“When city hall orders a homeless person to leave the city’s public
squares and gardens, it tramples that person’s freedom, his dignity and his
fundamental autonomy,” attorney Nira Shelo of the ACRI said on
“It also gives that person the clear message that he is inferior
and a nuisance,” she said.