On Saturday: Mass Rally in South Tel Aviv vs. Refugee Deportation

A mass rally will be held tomorrow, Saturday, February 24, against the deportation of African refugees and asylum seekers under the banner: “We must stop the deportation; we must rebuild South Tel Aviv.” The rally will commence at 20:00, at the intersection of HaAliyah and Levinsky Streets and will work its way up the latter. Hadash and the Communist Party of Israel have called upon their members to take part in the demonstration against the racist policy of the far-right Israeli government.

African refugees demonstrate in Tel Aviv.

African refugees demonstrate in Tel Aviv. (Photo: Right Now – Advocates for Asylum Seekers in Israel)

In their call to participate in Saturday’s rally, the organizers have written: “Come protest with us in a mass rally against the deportation of asylum seekers and against the driving out of the long-time residents from the city’s southern neighborhoods. We will demand a real renewal of South Tel Aviv, for the benefit of all its residents, and a complete halt to the deportation. Why protest? Because in the coming months asylum seekers are destined to be expelled by the government, to become refugees in foreign countries again, and sometimes even to their death.”

“The government keeps telling us that the deportation is done ‘in the name of South Tel Aviv’s residents.’ However, those who do live in South Tel Aviv, to whom asylum seekers have been neighbors for close to a decade, know the truth: for years, the government has neglected the southern neighborhoods, until the situation there became catastrophic. Now, that same government wants to expel all of us – whether we are long-time residents or whether we are African asylum seekers. The only ones to benefit will be real-estate tycoons, who will get to build luxury apartments over our neighborhoods, and labor contractors, who will get to import new low-wage workers to substitute those who have been expelled.”

“If the Israeli government was interested in rebuilding South Tel Aviv, it could have done so years ago. No one would have stopped it. All the billions of shekels invested in incarcerating asylum seekers in “Holot” and in “Saharonim,” in setting up an immigration police, and in an expensive and unnecessary deportation project – could have been invested in improving the quality of life in South Tel Aviv.”

“We won’t allow them to divide and incite between our communities! Deporting people to their death will not improve the condition of our neighborhoods, and we will not allow that to be done in our names. Instead of incitement and empty words, we demand the government to finally review asylum applications, to accept all those eligible for asylum throughout Israel, to invest in improving South Tel Aviv’s crumbling infrastructure, and an immediate halt to the eviction of all of South Tel Aviv’s residents from their homes,” concluded the organizers in their call to participate in Saturday’s rally.