Nordau Boulevard now TA’s 2nd-largest housing-protest site

‘People are going to work and returning at the end of the day to the tents,’ says organizer.

Tent protest on north Tel Aviv's Nordau Blvd. 311 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Tent protest on north Tel Aviv's Nordau Blvd. 311
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Though it started last Friday night as a far-flung outpost of two lonely tents, Nordau Boulevard is now Tel Aviv’s second-largest housingprotest site, and it appears that the northern Tel Aviv residents who launched it have created a few facts on the ground.
Medical intern Yishai Sekeli, one of the site’s two founders, appeared genuinely surprised at its longevity, saying Tuesday he thought it would be gone by the time the work week started Sunday.
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“People are going to work and returning at the end of the day to the tents,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “Something’s really happening here and people here [in northern Tel Aviv] really want to take part.”
He said the neighbors have not complained – in fact, “they’ve come by constantly to offer their help, let us use their showers, Internet, to cook in their kitchens. I’ve really never seen anything like this.”
Sekeli, 30, also said the campsite was now maintaining an ongoing dialogue with the Rothschild protesters and that they were beginning to talk about coordinating their activities.
Perhaps owing to its location in the leafy environs of northern Tel Aviv, the campsite of around 60 tents seems a sort of Abercrombie and Fitch alternative to the Sarongs and bongos of Rothschild’s downtown tent archipelago.
The tent city lacks the numbers and also the filth and infrastructure of Rothschild.
There is still no kitchen, no generators, and only as of Tuesday were tarps set up to provide shade. There also don’t appear to be any yoga classes or “paint your own fairy” stands, nor jam sessions going on at 7 p.m. The bulletin board set up near the corner of Ibn Gabirol did however advertise a pajama party for Thursday night.
Two clerks from the municipality came by to speak to a group of organizers working to set up new tents, and their tone and demeanor seemed to suggest the expanding tent society was a minor nuisance at best.
The clerks said they had received some complaints from neighborhood residents, and called on the organizers to make sure the center of the pedestrian walkway is kept clear and people keep things quiet after 9 p.m. or so, “without any water pipes or bongos.”
They also made it clear their main concern was that safety precautions were taken and the rigging of electrical cables and other tent city necessities wouldn’t present any public health risks.
To a certain extent, the Nordau tent city’s potential is limited.
Not only is the boulevard far shorter than Rothschild – the only area that appears suitable for tents is the two blocks between Ibn Gabirol and Sokolov. After Sokolov, the green spaces on the sides of the concrete walkway are replaced by shrubbery, which could present a natural barrier to tents.
Nonetheless, those setting up their tents on Tuesday evening expressed a very passionate desire to take in a protest movement they said deals with issues directly affecting their lives.
One 30-year-old, named Alon, who did not want his last name published, said the studio apartment he rents costs him NIS 3,500 per month, nearly half of his monthly salary.
Alon said that he was going to have to go to reserves duty later Tuesday night, but that when he gets back Wednesday he plans to sleep at the tent city.
“This is my neighborhood, and the more and more centers that are set up, the more this protest will spread and have an effect,” he said.