Police evacuate activists from abandoned TA building

Dozens of activists had taken over abandoned building, saying it would serve as a “public place for housing, culture, community”; 3 arrested.

"Occupied" building on Frug Street 311 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
"Occupied" building on Frug Street 311
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
The police on Tuesday forcefully evacuated dozens of activists who had overtaken an abandoned building in the heart of Tel Aviv on Monday.
Upon entering the building, the activists had declared the 3,000-square-meter, long-vacant complex at 16-18 Dov Hoz Street "a liberated building."
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Police arrested three activists during the evacuation of the building.
The building, which was built in 1938, was once used as a school and a women’s dormitory, but has laid vacant since 1999. It has long been a bizarre, completely out of place, graffiti covered eyesore, more befitting a horror movie set than the leafy neighborhood it lies in a block from Dizengoff Street.
In a flier with the headline “A Liberated Building,” organizers said they “have no intention of taking over the building for private purposes, and are not trying to claim any sort of ownership of it. As part of the wave of protests sweeping across Israel, we are inviting anyone who wants to contribute to the return of this asset to the public to take part.”
At the building on Monday, there were those who spoke of turning the complex into an artists workshop and museum, while others said it should be used as a community center or for public housing.
The Tel Aviv Municipality issued a response to the initiative on Monday, saying “the infiltration [of the building] is illegal and is a criminal offense. In addition, the building in question is dangerous and the infiltrators are placing their lives at risk for the sake of cheap provocation.”
They added, “it’s possible to count on two hands the number of municipal buildings that are being left unused.” In a jab at unnamed politicians, the statement ends, “it’s a shame that there are public officials who are inciting to crime in order to make this legitimate and beautiful protest, which is in keeping with Tel Aviv values, into criminal acts.”
Tel Aviv Police had said they had no intention of evacuating the squatters, unless they were instructed to do so by a court ruling.