PM to public security minister: No more tent evictions

Netanyahu phones Aharonovitch, tells police to respond to all duly submitted demonstration requests.

August 13, 2011 11:08
2 minute read.
Nordau tent city

Nordau tent city chilled_311. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)


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Prime Minister Binyamn Netanyahu requested from Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich to make sure that police and city officials would not issue evacuation notices for various campsites that have sprung up throughout the nation's cities, Israeli media reported Saturday.

The prime minister's request comes on the heels of reported eviction notices in Or Yehuda and Yehud, as well as the kitchen tent in Tel Aviv's Nordau Street tent city. Earlier in the week, city clerks circled the tent cities in northern Tel Aviv, allegedly telling activists that the city would evict vacant tents.

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Tel Aviv city clerks attempt to clear vacant protest tents
Fires and fights erupt at tent city in Holon slum

As the movement was getting ready for this weekend's massive demonstrations in the country's periphery, Netanyahu also requested that police consider all demonstration requests that were duly filed.

Both the prime minister's wide ranging housing reform bill, which included 10,000 new housing units for students, and the Housing Committees Law which attempted to limit the bureaucratic hurdles necessary to acquire and develop land in Israel for housing, were met with strong disapproval amongst movement leaders.

When the prime minister's reforms were announced on television in late July, activists sat booing and hissing and the screen.

On Saturday, and nearly a month into the social issues protests that have swept the country, movement organizers decided to cancel the weekly mass rallies in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and hold in their place a series of mass rallies in the periphery.

The message, organizers said, is that the movement isn’t only in the big cities in the center of the country, and the government must see it has become a nationwide struggle.

As of Thursday night, the cities that are planning to hold rallies include Afula, Haifa, Beit She’an, Beersheba, Modi’in, Ramat Hasharon, Netanya, Eilat, Hod Hasharon, Dimona and Petah Tikva.

Yonatan Levi, part of the original core group of activists who launched the tent city on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard on the night of July 14, said Thursday that the decision to leave the main population centers is to send the message “that we are in the periphery as well.

“The government has always neglected these areas and we want to show that we aren’t neglecting them too,” he said.

Levi said he had no idea a month ago that when he headed down to Rothschild with his tent that the gathering he was attending would become such a phenomenon.

“I thought we’d come for one night or two, and I thought that if 100-150 people showed up it would be a huge success. I had no reason to think it would be any different than any other protest people have held recently,” he said.

“But already on the first night, there were about 1,500 people who visited the tent city and by then I suddenly understood that this could spin out of control in ways that we would not be able to predict.”

Ben Hartman contributed to this report.

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