South Tel Aviv Residents Protest Against African Immigrants, Yell 'Eritreans Go Home'

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Demonstrators burn the picture of Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, on August 30, 2018.
Demonstrators burn the picture of Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, on August 30, 2018.Credit: Dudu Bachar

A year after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured south Tel Aviv to tell residents that the government would soon be removing asylum seekers from the area, some 200 people held a protest rally near the Central Bus Station to protest what they see as the government’s failure to act on this promise.

A sound system repeatedly broadcasted Netanyahu’s statement from last year: “We will return south Tel Aviv to the residents of Israel.”

Among the organizers of the rally were the right-wing NGO Im Tirtzu and a group called My Truth. The protesters carried signs that read: “We’re living in Africa,” and, “You promised deportation, we got a war zone.”

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Im Tirtzu head Matan Peleg said: “It’s not only south Tel Aviv or Netanya or Eilat. The front is expanding. Eritreans go home.”

Activist Doron Abrahami told the crowd: “We are not in Netanyahu’s pocket. We are not in the pocket of any party. Whoever picks up the gauntlet and deport the infiltrator-invaders will get our vote.”

>> Read more: In Tel Aviv, a Battle Is Being Waged for the Future of Eritrea

An argument broke out among the organizers when Habayit Hayehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich wanted to address the crowd. City Councilwoman Suzy Cohen Zemach refused to allow him to do so. “No politician will speak here. Have they done anything? Not one infiltrator has gone out of here,” she said.

Another activist, Shefi Paz, told the crowd that Netanyahu had promised her that he would take action and she was afraid to believe him, but, ultimately, he had done nothing. “We are against the whole left-wing and we are against the [New Israel] Fund and we are against the funding of mass demonstrations. And we have only one question: Why don’t you take all that money and rent them apartments?”