Tent City 311.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Police shut down the tent city in south Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood on
Sunday morning, five months after it was set up by disadvantaged and homeless
people protesting housing prices.
RELATED:Social protesters march through central TAHatikva tent city residents await eviction
During the eviction, four people were
arrested for violating restraining orders barring them from the
Police denied reports that those arrested included Stav
Shaffir, one of the founders of the J14 social issues movement, who was arrested
at a protest outside the Hatikva encampment a week ago.
By late morning,
municipal barricades encircled the grassy expanse where the tent city had been
located since August. Dozens of birds picked through the rubbish atop the mud
left behind by the protesters.
Yitzhak Allon, who said he slept at the
encampment as a “guest” for the past four months, surveyed the scene as a group
of neighborhood residents chatted about the evictions.
criticized police for “bringing hundreds of officers like they were going to
fight the Syrian army or something.”
He said the eviction was carried
with very little resistance and that it was over almost as soon as it began.
Things happened so quickly that Allon lost a few blankets he had left in a
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Itzik Amsalem, head of the encampment, said police had ordered him
to three days of house arrest for violating the restraining order barring him
from the park.
“The authorities need to check these people and see who
needs help and find them assistance, but not all of the people here needed
help,” said “Tamar” a middle-aged neighborhood resident who asked not to be
“They need to help the weak ones, but those who come here to try
and profit off the protest are a different thing entirely,” she said.
number of Hatikva residents said that the overwhelming majority of those at the
tent city were looking to piggyback on the protest in order to win housing from
the state. A number joked about the white SUV that a tent city resident often
drove back and forth to the encampment to deliver supplies.
of the people here [at the tent city] were desperate people who need help. The
other 90% were scam artists,” said Reuven, a 68-year-old pensioner and lifelong
Reuven said there were people he knew from the
neighborhood who have homes, but came to the tent city and pretended to be
homeless in an effort to get additional housing from the state.
spoke with a young man named Yuval, who said he was happy the encampment had
been cleared. Since the summer, Yuval and his mother had not been able to have
their weekly barbecues at the park because of the tent city.
all types of stuff going on here, drugs, you name it. Hopefully we’ll get our
park back,” he said.
The municipality said that “in keeping with a
decision by the district court, the city of Tel Aviv is evacuating the tents
that remain at Hatikva Park. The municipality allowed the encampment to remain
temporarily because of the issues faced by the tens of thousands of homeless
living in Israel.”
Because of the hardships facing the Hatikva tent city
residents, the city allowed them to remain far longer than at other tent cities
in Tel Aviv, which were evacuated beginning in September, the municipality
“Hatikva Park is not suitable for human habitation, especially
during the winter, and is the only ‘green lung’ in the area accessible to the
residents of Hatikva and surrounding areas. Because of this, and due to the
city’s responsibility to the public as a whole, the municipality is working to
return the park to the use of the entire public.”
After the eviction,
activists announced plans to hold a protest outside the Tel Aviv Municipality
building at 4 p.m.
Police arrested 11 people for disorderly conduct at
the protest on Sunday evening.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this
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