The same problem is everywhere…
Residents of the south Tel Aviv neighborhoods talk about life in the shadow of the illegal migrants, the fear on the streets and the hope that the situation will improve. “We live in hell”.
While the disingenuous campaign to keep the illegal infiltrators in Israel is gaining momentum from various media outlets, the voice of the people whose daily lives are most effected by the situation, has received almost no attention at all.
The residents of the neighborhoods in south Tel Aviv have been those most affected by the phenomenon of illegal infiltration since it started ten years ago. They pay the steepest price for life next to the infiltrators, while all proposed solutions are stuck in a legal quagmire.
One of these women is Sophie Menashe. She made Aliyah from India at the beginning of the fifties and moved to Levinsky Street next to the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station in 1979.
“The neighborhood was a normal neighborhood, many families lived here. I had three young children and they would roam the neighborhood without problem, even at night,” she said in a conversation with Mida about those days, that seem very far away as compared to the neighborhood’s current state.
According to Menashe, Neve Sha’anan was never an upscale neighborhood and there was always crime and poverty. However, when the large numbers of infiltrators arrived to the area, the character of neighborhood began to change.
“As the years passed, the adults died and the children left, the apartment owners started renting them to the Africans.” In the building where Sophie lives today, there are only two older Israeli women. Infiltrators live in the rest of the apartments, all of which are illegally divided into a number of living spaces.
“They simply split every apartment into a number of rooms with different entrances. In every room, four or five people live. I turned to the municipality and they told me that it is impossible to do anything because the original plans for the building were lost,” she said.
At the very entrance to the building, a club for foreigners operates without license. The municipality closes the club every few weeks and then it reopens.
The building itself is neglected and dirty, trash gathers in the stairwell. It seems that the foreign residents of the building do not care. “They simply throw their trash into the courtyard from the balcony, they go to the bathroom everywhere. There are a few infiltrators who live on the roof. Periodically, an official comes to give fines due to the accumulating trash. Because there is no official address for anyone in order to receive a fine, he issues the fines in my name.”