Holon Jesse Cohen burning couch_311.
(photo credit: ben hartman)
Protesters at the tent city in Holon’s impoverished Jesse Cohen neighborhood are
trying to reach a compromise with the local municipality under which they will
voluntarily evacuate the wooden structures they have built once the housing
protest comes to an end.
The move has been taken in order to avoid
violent clashes with police who would be sent to secure a demolition of the
In a letter sent to the Holon Municipality and the Tel Aviv
district police on Monday, Jesse Cohen neighborhood committee chair Nissan
Zechariya wrote “the protesters’ lack of means forced them to build shacks from
broken doors and pieces of wood that they found.”
“An attempt to destroy
the shacks will be seen by them as an attempt to squash the protest, which could
lead to incidents spinning out of control.
This is something neither we
nor the law enforcement authorities want.”
Zechariya told The Jerusalem
on Tuesday that the idea to write the letter came from police, who he said
told him they have no intention to forcefully remove the structures, because
they fear it could lead to a violent escalation.
Zechariya said that he
believes that as long as the few dozen protesters remain in the tent city he and
other leaders can maintain control of a potentially volatile
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“As long as [the protesters] are sitting in the tent city,
it’s under control. But if these people are dispersed, they’ll go all over the
city and it won’t be controllable.”
He said that disgruntled evacuees
“could also carry out ‘price tag’ actions” in a reference to actions taken by
some West Bank settlers following demolitions of illegal structures over the
“The municipality sees this as a takeover of land, but these
people are only doing it as part of a protest. Once the protest is over they’ll
leave on their own,” Zechariya said, adding that “the police are with us on
The tent city in Jesse Cohen includes a few dozen tents and about
a half a dozen slapdash wooden shacks that have been thrown up to house families
that have lost their apartments in recent months. While they are not permanent
structures, some do have refrigerators, TVs, steel doors, and other basic
trappings of a home.
Protesters at Jesse Cohen say the structures were
built because unlike on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv, the tent city houses
entire families, who say they are incapable of piling into tents. They also say
that they are only looking for public housing and are not interested in other
grievances included in the protest movement.
Last Wednesday, residents of
the tent city burned tires and a couch in the middle of a major thoroughfare
next to the campsite, shortly after a pair of municipal clerks left the
The residents vowed to clash with police if an attempt is made to
evacuate them by force.
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