Five days ahead of a rally in southern Tel Aviv which will see the battle against the African infiltrator phenomenon reach its peak, residents, rabbis and local neighborhood activists met in southern Tel Aviv youth center Thursday – and threw accusations in every direction.
“This is a harsh and fateful war, maybe the toughest since the State was founded,” claimed Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, one of the leaders of the struggle. “The number of infiltrators keeps rising and if the phenomenon continues the Jewish majority will get significantly smaller.”
This is the third meeting of its kind to be held in southern Tel Aviv over the last month, with 100 residents taking part and calling on the government to take action against the infiltration issue. Meanwhile, signs have already been posted throughout the neighborhoods calling on residents to attend next Tuesday’s rally under the heading ‘Put an end to neighborhood fear, send infiltrators home’.
Coreen Galili whose mother was beaten to death by a Sudanese refugee near the Tel Aviv central bus station last year, said: “Many times I have cried out ‘End the lawlessness’, but I don’t think anyone in the government, or the human rights organizations or the preening media cares. We live in fear and our personal safety is being hurt.”
‘Manage struggle wisely’
A Tel Aviv resident who had the floor attacked the Tel Aviv municipality: “Why does the municipality mobilize its resources to hold rallies with 8,000 participants for the migrant workers’ children, but isn’t now harnessing its efforts to aid our cause? Huldai has become the chairman of the foreigners committee instead of helping us, the residents of southern Tel Aviv.”
Knesset Member and Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Uri Orbach came to the meeting to show support for the residents’ cause. “The government has made a slow start in dealing with the issue, but 150 infiltrators have already been made to leave and a great deal of funding is being put into the construction of a border fence,” Orbach said.
The MK also gave the resident some tips: “I suggest that you use the right tone when managing your struggle and stop saying that the infiltrators are thieves or criminals. As soon as you start using that terminology, the media and the general public will say that they don’t wish to be involved in anything that has a whiff of xenophobia and racism.
“The struggle must be managed wisely as the public atmosphere can cause the government to increase its pace.”
Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz was prevented from attending the meeting at the last minute. He sent a message saying, “The infiltrator phenomenon in Southern Tel Aviv is a ticking bomb in the State’s central hub. Rising crime levels in the area and the damages to the Jewish character of the State are like an explosive device that has already taken lives.”
Tel Aviv City Councilman Binyamin Babayof (Shas), who led the rabbis’ and realtors petition calling on residents not to rent apartments to infiltrators, told Ynet: “Our struggle is gaining ground; there is no racial or clannish issue here. It is clear that anyone living on a street where he doesn’t have Sudanese neighbors finds it difficult to identify with what we experience on a daily basis. But the day when they will have to deal with the problem is not far off.”
Chairman of Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood council Shlomo Maslawi, one of the rally’s main organizers, added: “There isn’t a household or a street that didn’t receive an announcement about the rally we are organizing.
“This will be the mother of all rallies and it will demonstrate just how much of a powder keg we are sitting on, and how the public is tired of sitting there waiting for it to explode in our faces. We will hold a protest march that will begin at the Shapira neighborhood and head towards the rally’s central location near the Hatikva neighborhood market.
“The situation has become unbearable. Maybe this method will wake our ‘too little to late’ government up. We have no options left to us other than heading out to the streets and crying out for help.”