Left celebrates, South Tel Aviv residents angered

Zionist Union, Meretz MKs hail deal with UN to deport 16,000 refugees while the rest remain in Israel. Tel Aviv residents feel abandoned.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Shefi Paz at a demonstration to expel the infiltrators
Shefi Paz at a demonstration to expel the infiltrators
Yonatan Sindal/Flash 90

Beleaguered residents of southern Tel Aviv slammed the government's compromise with the United Nations which allows over half of the illegal infiltrators to remain in Israel, even as left-wing activists celebrated the announcement.

Shefi Paz, one of the leaders of the campaign to deport the infiltrators from Israel, called the deal "a disgrace to the State of Israel and a direct result of a total failure of the government's policy. This proposal was submitted to the leaders of the struggle as a fait accompli and was presented as a 'victory' with the expectation that we would give it the desired stamp of approval. The residents of southern Tel Aviv will continue the struggle."

Shlomo Maslawi, the chairman of the Hatikva neighborhood committee and a member of the Tel Aviv city council, said that "the solution proposed by the Israeli government will be regretted by generations to come and does irreversible damage to the state. The Israeli government carried out a hijacking under the noses of residents of southern Tel Aviv."

"The Israeli government promised all the time that the residents of southern Tel Aviv would be involved - and it just did not happen, and the disregard for the residents simply cries out to the heavens," he added.

According to Maslawi, "all the talk about regulating their status, their dispersal throughout the country and about a plan to rehabilitate southern Tel Aviv is empty talk. Until all the infiltrators are expelled, there will be no hope for the southern Tel Aviv neighborhoods, there will be no peace and no security for the residents of southern Tel Aviv. "

On the left, however, the new outline formulated by Israel together with the United Nations was greeted with celebration. MKs Michal Rozin and Yossi Raz of the far-left Meretz party said that "this is the beautiful time and the unquestionable success of the community of asylum seekers and Israeli society, who went out to protest against the evils of deportation."

Rozin and Raz added, "Now we must make sure that no one leaves the country against his will and that they are promised all the medical, social and educational rights for children [they are entitled to]."

MK Mickey Rosenthal, of the Center-Left Zionist Union party, said that "all the cynics are in a hurry to give up. Here is another civil struggle that succeeded: We prevented the expulsion of the refugees. Morals - not every struggle succeeds, there are those who end in victory and some who fail, but it is appropriate for citizens to organize and fight for their rights."

MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union) also welcomed the prevention of the mass deportation of the infiltrators: "A forced and dangerous deportation to an unknown future would have left a disgraceful black mark on the the State of Israel. It is now clear that the facts that the government placed before the public and before the High Court of Justice were distorted to say the least."

"There is no doubt that without the civil protest that led the organizations and many good citizens, we would not have succeeded. From now on it is necessary to adopt the proposal of the community center and to bring about the dispersion, absorption and training of the remaining population, and of course a real restoration of the neighborhoods of southern Tel Aviv," Shmuli said.

The compromise was made with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, who said they would work to bring at least 16,250 of the approximately 40,000 infiltrators that were supposed to have been sent to Rwanda to Western countries, on condition that Israel grant visas to the rest of the infiltrators.