The Gedera-Hadera Distortion

Behind the Gedera-Hadera policy lies the perception that the areas beyond Israel's center are less than appropriate to satisfactorily house the white and Jewish.

Last week the massive operation began to evict asylum-seekers from metropolitan Tel Aviv, carried out by the new Oz immigration task force run by the Interior Ministry's Population Authority.

The signal was given to start a massive hunt by 200 of the unit's inspectors for thousands of refugees, in order to send them past Gedera in the south and Hadera in the north, under the Gedera-Hadera policy led by Population Authority head Yaakov Ganot.

The "Gedera-Hadera" concept generally refers to the fact that the bulk of the economic, cultural and social power of Israel's Jewish population lies between those two coastal cities, and that for years the state has subjected people living beyond those boundaries (including in Jerusalem and Haifa) to inequitable treatment.

The socio-economic situation in those outlying areas is deteriorating, employment rates are dropping and desperation is rising. Implementing the Gedera-Hadera policy will only exacerbate those trends.

On the one hand, army officials and politicians on the extreme right approvingly cite the increased representation of individuals from beyond the central population bloc on lists of volunteers to, and casualties of, the Israel Defense Forces.

Those same officials express scorn for liberal sentiments, though, which they view as representing a spreading weakness, a tumorous growth afflicting the territory of Gedera-Hadera - particularly the greater Tel Aviv area - and expressed in the overly-humanistic treatment of those who are not Jewish, white, heterosexual and ready to sign oaths of loyalty to the state. Broadly, anyone viewed as different.

The refugees in Tel Aviv, living in inhuman conditions and working in thankless jobs, are the lucky ones among their compatriots. They weren't shot on their way here, or expelled to Egypt and from there to southern Sudan, Darfur or Eritrea (which the United Nations defines as places where human life is seriously threatened), and are no longer imprisoned in Ketziot Prison in the Negev. Within Gedera-Hadera, and especially in Gush Dan, the refugees find it relatively easy to land work as dishwashers or cleaners, they have a number of clinics at their disposal, as well as humanitarian organizations. In Tel Aviv their children are even able to integrate at school.

But their primary source of support - particularly for non-anglophones - are the community lives they have in Tel Aviv, where they meet every night to breathe exhaust fumes at one of the city's polluted recreation sites, such as Levinsky Park near the Central Bus Station.

"That's what they do all day?" chortled Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch while touring the area to monitor preparations for the mass eviction. "Sitting, smoking and drinking?"

But life, in particular that of a refugee, is no picnic. A stark prediction of what awaits them in peripheral areas can be gleaned from a welcome message released yesterday by the Oz unit office in Acre to its other branches. It reads, "The bureau's employees in Acre wish you luck, and seek to strengthen you in fulfilling what is written: 'So shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee.'"

It seems this is what the Interior Ministry views as an appropriate Zionist response to a humanitarian problem. After all, behind the Gedera-Hadera policy lies the perception that the areas beyond the country's center are less than appropriate to satisfactorily house the white and Jewish.

If so, why be content with the mere eviction of the refugees? Why not cast other needy populations beyond these borders, and maybe also Aharonovitch's "Arabooshes," whom in Acre they certainly know how to treat with a heavy hand?

From Gedera to Hadera a Jewish race will rise, white and wealthy, and all of our dreams will come to pass.