On Infamous Tel Aviv Street, a Strange Brew of Energy, Racism and Violence

Coby Ben-Simhon
Coby Ben-Simhon
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Coby Ben-Simhon
Coby Ben-Simhon

At the northern end of Allenby Street, between Bialik and Ben Yehuda streets, a dubious "entertainment" zone stretches out, at the center of which stands the Go-Go Girls strip club, the eye of the storm surrounding Israel Navy commander Eliezer Marom. Marom was spotted at the club last week.

In the street outside the club, intoxicated partygoers imbibe vodka out of plastic cups, yelling at passersby.

Young girls cling to foreign men, hoping to skim from their wallets.

Haim Yamin, an employee of Monopol Pizza, views these scenes nightly. "I stand here at my pizza stand and watch the street. It's like a TV that's always on," he says. "There's stuff here that will blow your mind - drunks who climb up on trees, homeless guys who walk into my kitchen and take pizzas as if at home. And people talk here without thinking about who's listening."

For nearly a week, everyone here has been talking about the disgraced navy chief.

Yamin recalls one group of army-age friends who entered his pizza shop; the one from the navy became the target of merciless ridicule from his f riends.

"This street has it all - young people from Petah Tikva and Be'er Sheva, foreign workers from Africa and the Philippines, soldiers, tourists from Brazil and America, older people, young guys from Tel Aviv, religious people," Yamin says.

'A street for crazy people'

"I started the night with a fight," says a 20-year-old with a proud smile, pointing to a bleeding cut above his left eyebrow. "I fought with some Turkish idiot. He spilled vodka on me and started laughing at me in Turkish, the moron. So I hit him and he hit me, until someone broke it up."

At 2 A.M. the corner of Allenby and Pinsker streets is drunk on a strange brew of youthful energy, racism and violence.

"The darkest Arabs come here, it's just disgusting to see them. It's only with them that I fight all-out," the 20-year-old says.

He arrived in Tel Aviv from Marseille, France, and asked to remain anonymous. "I live at the top of Allenby. For three years I've lived this life 24 hours a day. This is a street of Arabs and drug addicts," he says. "There are people who come here just for the fights, with baseball bats and knives. A week ago someone was running around with an ax. This is a street for crazy people.

"I came here a good boy from France - I didn't even know how to say 'son of a bitch in Hebrew.' I've learned a lot on this street," he adds. "If I were from City Hall I'd lay a bomb and blow the whole place up."