No Hope In Shchunot HaTikva

And so it begins, the obvious slogans, the comparisons with Nazism and the proclamations against racism but does anyone actually want to look at the issue here?

The issue is not rioting nor is it racism. The issue is that this government simply doesn’t have a policy on illegal immigration and the people living in the poorest of poor areas of South Tel Aviv are the ones paying the price.

The residents of the HaTikvah neighbourhood have been screaming for years about the fact that the police have been shunting illegal immigrants away from the centre of the city, away from the eyes of tourists and into their low income, run down, neighbourhoods.

It was after Dan Kosky spent weeks on reserve duty in the desert picking up illegal immigrants that he began to understand the scale of the problem facing us. He noted his observations here for anyone who wanted to know the process that illegal immigrants go through upon arrival in the country. The observations come from the mouth of a soldier who was probably the first Israeli many illegal immigrants had ever set eyes on.

It is easy to feel sorry for people who have gone through unimaginable hardship in order to make it to the promised land in the hope of making a better life for themselves. The tortures endured by illegal immigrants are well documented and heart breaking and make it all the more inexcusable that the government have no discernible policy when it comes to dealing with them. The best we can do so far is build a big detention centre in the desert. This doesn’t constitute a policy, it constitutes a construction of dubious value and is certainly no replacement for making an actual policy decision.

The people of South Tel Aviv are more than angry, they are livid and frustrated and at their wits end. They are amongst the poorest of our society and the least listened to and they have nowhere else to go.  There is no excusing hate for its own sake, by the same token it is way too easy to dismiss this violence as racism and refuse to accept that there is a policy problem here that is fermenting racial hatred and violence. To make matters worse it is the very same Likud MKs who were whipping the crowd into a frenzy with disgusting statements like “the Sudanese are a cancer in our body” who are the very members of government that are responsible for the situation and who should be taking positive steps in order to relieve it.

So next time you are tempted to come out with a cliche about how Jews should be better than this or make a comparison between Jews and Nazis remember that unless you are watching your area change for the worse before your eyes and are utterly powerless to stop the police from actually keeping illegal immigrants penned into your area lest they be seen elsewhere, you might want to keep your mouth shut.

This demonstration is the result of frustration at inadequate governance and incredibly irresponsible grandstanding by MKs who should know better. It is time for Bibi to stop promising to do something and actually start listening to his citizens or there will no doubt be more violence in the neighbourhood of hope.


About the Author
Marc Goldberg is the author of Beyond the Green Line, a story his service in the IDF fighting through the al Aqsa Intifada