Haredi Bnei Brak leading the war on infiltration?

Illegal immigrants have caused a sharp spike in brutal crime, but Bnei Brak strikes back despite government inaction, demolishing den.

Chaim Lev,

Bnei Brak synagogue (illustration)
Bnei Brak synagogue (illustration)
Yaakov Naumi/Flash 90

Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants continue to cause a spike in crime in various areas of Israel, particularly in southern Tel Aviv, but the nearby largely haredi city of Bnei Brak appears to be leading the crackdown against the worrying phenomenon.

In recent days the Bnei Brak municipality demolished a building on Bialik Street in the coastal city's Pardes Katz neighborhood, after it became clear that the building was being illegally used a refuge for large numbers of infiltrators.

Several years ago masses of infiltrators, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan, arrived in the Bnei Brak neighborhood from the central station area of southern Tel Aviv.

At the time, the municipality turned to senior members of the Internal Security Ministry, but they were told that the infiltrators would only be removed after complaints of criminal acts were submitted against them - in other words, the government was waiting for a crime wave in order to act.

In response the Bnei Brak municipality said it would crack down on those illegally dividing up and renting studio apartments to the illegal immigrants.

Avraham Tenenbaum, municipality secretary and spokesperson, said that in the first stages of the crackdown, dozens of legal files have been prepared against the renters, and likewise municipal policing patrols have been greatly increased.

"We discovered that in one building six housing units on the ground floor and four units on the first floor were divided into separate housing units for these (infiltrators)," said Tenenbaum.

"In actions at the court, high monetary fines were imposed on those dividing up the apartments and for the building irregularities in these apartments, and likewise closure orders were issued against illegal cafes, noisy game rooms and pirate businesses lacking a license."

Statistics from last August suggested that infiltration in Israel is on the rise againBrutal crime committed by illegal immigrants has tragically become a common occurrence, particularly in southern Tel Aviv where a large concentration of the infiltrators live.

However, the horrific crimes have largely gone without condemnation by leftist rights groups and women's groups - or the Supreme Court, which has repeatedly struck down legislation aiming to deport the infiltrators.

Official statistics in Israel have revealed the overwhelming majority of infiltrators are economic migrants and not refugees as claimed by leftist groups, in an assessment that echoes findings of other Western countries.

Leading southern Tel Aviv activist May Golan told Arutz Sheva in May that the state is not dealing with the problem, after the government's decision to transfer 56 million shekels (nearly $14.5 million) in order to build kindergartens and preschools for the children of illegal immigrants.