Government invests 28 million to improve migrant majority neighborhoods

"The south Tel Aviv neighborhoods will become a national priority," Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Gallant said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sitting with cabinet at government meeting on July 23, 2018 (photo credit: ALEX KOLOMOISKY / POOL)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sitting with cabinet at government meeting on July 23, 2018
(photo credit: ALEX KOLOMOISKY / POOL)
The government on Monday approved a plan to rehabilitate areas across the country with high densities of migrants, but as of yet has offered no solution to the situation of the asylum-seeker themselves.
The plan tackles economic and social challenges in south Tel Aviv, Petah Tikva and Eilat, among others.
The resolution, proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Gallant and Interior Minister Arye Deri, declares south Tel Aviv a national-priority area in light of the high number of asylum-seekers living there.
PM Netanyahu meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and discusses Syrian aircraft the penetrated Israeli airspace, July 11, 2018 (GPO)
The Tel Aviv Municipality will roughly match the sum that the government is putting into its neighborhoods.
The plan, which was spearheaded by Gallant, deals exclusively will the rehabilitation of areas with high populations of migrants, and not with the issue of the asylum-seekers themselves.
Netanyahu stated at the cabinet meeting on Monday that the government “is making a concerted effort to remove illegal infiltrators... but Israelis living in communities with many illegal migrants deserve support and aide.” He said Israel is continuing diplomatic efforts to “deport the infiltrators.”
The approval of the plan comes some three months after Netanyahu touted a new plan for the migrants, only to cancel it less than 24 hours later. The deal reached between the Prime Minister’s Office and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees stipulated that Israel could deport 16,000 migrants to Western countries, while granting a “suitable” legal status to 16,000 others. It also included a plan to rehabilitate south Tel Aviv, which suffers from poor infrastructure, prostitution and drugs. The newly approved plan addresses the latter issues.
The plan involves building up and strengthening these communities’ welfare, education and health through a committee formed by government representatives who will supervise and steer the project. The project will span three years and cost NIS 28 million.
“The south Tel Aviv neighborhoods will become a national priority,” said Gallant at the government meeting. “In addition, funds will be invested for at-risk youth, welfare, education and will be dedicated to strengthening the feeling of security.”
Deri said residents of these neighborhoods are forced to live in harsh conditions and “it is our duty to help them. We will act to compensate them for the hard years they have suffered.”
Gallant told The Jerusalem Post last month that “the basic idea is how to make the lives of the permanent citizens better, without dealing right now – at least not by my office – with what the solution should be for the migrants. Because these are neighborhoods that previously hadn’t been in the best situation and are getting worse and worse. And we have to take care of the people.”
He explained that the plan could run parallel to any government plan “to make sure that those refugees will go back to their homelands. But in the meantime, we have to make sure that those people do not create a situation that is unbearable in the neighborhoods where they are.”
The plan includes funds from a number of government ministries – Construction and Housing, Interior, Culture, Education, Public Security, Science and Development of the Negev and Galilee – to improve the situation in the neighborhoods.