Demonstrators attack African migrants in South Tel Aviv
Likud MK describes Sudanese migrants as cancer; government prepares for mass deportation.
Hundreds of demonstrators assembled in Tel Aviv's Hatikva neighborhood calling for the ousting of African migrant workers. Some people attacked people attacked Africans that passed by. Others smashed the windows of a grocery store serving the migrant worker community and looted it.
Another group of demonstrators stopped a shuttle taxi and searched for migrant workers among the passengers, while banging on the windows.
The crowd cried "The people want the Sudanese deported" and "infiltrators get out of our home." Miri Regev, a Likud Knesset Member said that "the Sudanese were a cancer in our body." 17 protesters were arrested.
The protesters expressed their dismay with the government's dealings with the "problem" of asylum seekers, especially with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Some people carried signs in support of Interior Minister Eli Yishai who called for the expulsion of the asylum seekers earlier this week.
The march was organized by Knesset member Michael Ben Ari of the National Union party, along with far-right activists Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel, who runs a neighborhood security group in south Tel Aviv. Organizers said the existence of assistance groups encouraged migrants to cross into Israel.
Signs carried by the marchers proclaimed messages such as: "This is not Africa" and "Stop talking, start expelling." Another stated that human rights should not be "at the expense of the little guy."
Before protesters took to the streets, residents of the Hatikva neighborhood got up on an improvised stage at the market to recount violence they had suffered at the hands of the migrants. "The solution," one speaker said, "is us here, them not here." He called for the establishment of a political party that will champion the expulsion of the migrants. "It's not racism," he insisted.
Carmela Rosner, who has lived in the neighborhood for 27 years, held a sign that read: "They rape girls and elderly women, murder, steal, stab, burglarize. We're afraid to leave home." She complained that longtime residents have become a minority in the neighborhood while the Sudanese, she said, are now in the majority.
The only way to get the authority's attention, she added, was to cause physical harm to the migrants. "I don't want that to happen, but there's no alternative," she said, though at the same time she acknowledged that "violence is not the answer." Rosner said she used to have sympathy for the newcomers and gave them clothes, but is now afraid to go to the supermarket, even in the early evening. She said the migrants should be dispersed around the country rather than being concentrated in Tel Aviv.
More anti-migrant demonstrations are planned for this evening in cities around the country where there are large concentration of migrants.
Government prepares to start mass deportation
Meanwhile, the government is preparing a mass deportation of refugees back to their South Sudan homeland. Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein next week will argue before the Jerusalem District Court that there is no legal obstacle to the expulsions since individual checks will establish that none of them faces any threat to their lives in South Sudan.
The Jerusalem District Court recently issued a temporary order prohibiting the migrants' deportation until it rules on a petition filed by five human rights organizations against the state's intent to deport the refugees.
Weinstein, who has expressed support for sending migrants from South Sudan back home, will ask the court to lift the temporary order preventing their expulsion.