Rothschild protesters ask court to delay tent evacuation

Attorney files request on behalf of several from encampment that claim to be homeless; 3 other TA tent cities are cleared, 2 protesters detained.

Rothschild 311  (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Rothschild 311
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Sixteen members of the Rothschild Boulevard tent protest encampment, including several people claiming to be homeless, filed an urgent request with the Tel Aviv District Court early Monday morning, asking for a temporary injunction to delay municipal plans to evacuate the encampment.
Attorney Yaron Ben Yitzhak filed the request on behalf of the sixteen protesters. He told The Jerusalem Post that several of the petitioners have been living in the tents, and asked him to turn to the court on their behalf late Sunday night after negotiations with the municipality failed.
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The Tel Aviv District Court was expected to hold a hearing on the matter on Monday, before Judge Esther Covo.
Municipal clerks with support from police forces cleared Tel Aviv tent cities on Levinsky Street, Nordau Boulevard and Ben-Gurion Boulevard Monday morning.
Inspectors and police had been expected to clear the larger tent encampment on the city's Rothschild Boulevard later in the morning.
Two people were detained for allegedly causing a disturbance during the evacuation on Levinski Street.
Tent inhabitants on Rothschild were singing while waiting for the evictions to take place late Monday morning.
On Sunday, municipality clerks visited the Rothschild Boulevard campsite and others across the city informing residents that Sunday was their last day to voluntarily fold up their tents and still receive assistance from the city in evacuating.
In the early afternoon, about 20 municipal clerks arrived at the Rothschild tent city, the symbolic heart of the social justice movement, and walked around telling residents that the eviction is imminent and offered their help in evacuating.
They ended up leaving after a short period of time and the tent city residents, a skeleton crew of a few dozen homeless people, milled around, some more resigned than others to their fate. The clerks later visited other tent cities across Tel Aviv, and issued a similar warning.
One of those present at Rothschild on Sunday was Irena Shotz, a middle-aged woman who has been a fixture at the tent city since July 17, the third day of the protest. Shotz said she would have to find somewhere else to live in the meantime, and pointed blame at state social workers who she accused of ignoring her demands for housing assistance.
“Social workers can’t give me housing. They can help me get more benefits on my national insurance, but an apartment costs at least NIS 1,500, but without a house I can’t find a job and without a job I can’t afford a house. It’s a cycle.”
Shotz, who immigrated from Russia 15 years ago, said she was looking for a chance to permanently leave Israel as soon as possible, saying that only a travel restriction placed on her due to excessive debt was keeping her in the country.
Also on Rothschild on Sunday was Avi Dahan, an activist in the tent city movement. Dahan said that “the basic impact of this is the principle. People here weren’t that traumatized by today because they are people who already don’t have any options, don’t have anywhere to go.”
Ben Hartman contributed to this report.