Tel Aviv municipal inspectors, along with a large contingent of police, raided illegal businesses run by African migrants in the Neve Sha’anan neighborhood on Sunday evening.
The inspectors closed down about 10 businesses in the south Tel Aviv neighborhood, implementing both court orders and administrative closure orders. They confiscated equipment from restaurants, cafes, bars and kiosks. They took away the equipment of trucks and welded shut the doors to the businesses.
“We have come to eradicate the undesirable phenomenon of businesses operating illegally, with sanitation and safety problems, and illegal connections to electricity and water; and sales of alcoholic beverages without permits,” said Tel Aviv’s Deputy Director General Ruby Zaluf. “We are trying within the framework of the law, and the resources and means we have – to reach a better result concerning public order and personal safety of the residents,” he added.
City hall said there are some 150 businesses run by African migrants in the southern part of the city, most without licenses. The vast majority of Sudanese and Eritrean migrants in Israel do not have work permits, and therefore have no legal possibility of opening a business. A few of them run their businesses under Israeli ownership, however, or through the small number of asylum seekers with work permits.
Human rights activists protested Sunday's action, which they say prevents the African migrants from supporting themselves.
“It is very worrying,” said Dr. Rami Godovich, an activist from south Tel Aviv. "The city is keeping them from working and just waiting for the day they will return to Africa. They are throwing them out into the streets, and it seems the election campaign for city hall has started,” he added.