Have Tel Aviv's infiltrators created a coronavirus hotspot?

No enforcement or testing created a situation where infiltrators walk free as elderly citizens remain trapped in their homes, activists say.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Infiltrators in southern Tel Aviv
Infiltrators in southern Tel Aviv
Nicky Kloin, Flash 90

Shlomo Maslawi, chairman of the Hatikva neighborhood's committee and a member of the Tel Aviv municipal council, spoke to Maariv about the rising number of coronavirus cases among foreign workers.

"The elderly are once again shut in their homes, and afraid to walk out," Maslawi said. "The elderly did not leave their homes during the lockdown, and now once again they are forced to stay in their homes."

In his estimation, the neighborhoods of southern Tel Aviv contain over 50,000 foreign workers, nearly 40,000 of whom are illegal infiltrators from Eritrea and Sudan.

"We warned that there weren't enough tests and that there isn't proper enforcement," he added. "Now we are seeing the results. They needed to do a lot more tests, and the enforcement on the ground was very little."

Sheffi Paz, also a resident of southern Tel Aviv, told Maariv: "We are very worried about infection. There's almost no building without foreign workers and infiltrators." She added that both activists such as herself and Maslawi, and run-of-the-mill residents of the neighborhood, had warned about the small number of tests conducted on foreign workers in the city, and about the lack of proper enforcement.

"Since coronavirus broke out, we warned, we begged, and we cried. We saw gatherings of infiltrators and a lack of enforcement. We photographed and recorded, but no one paid attention to us, and some even laughed at us. All of our pleas did not help, and there were infiltrators who laughed in my face," Paz said.

On Sunday, a new coronavirus testing center was opened near Tel Aviv's old Central Bus Station. Hundreds of foreign workers and their children arrived to be tested, leading to the formation of long lines.

"In the past only a few people came to be tested, but this time many more people came," one of those waiting on line told Maariv.

The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality told Maariv: "With regards to the foreigners in the city, for the past month there has been a testing station in the Neve Sha'anan neighborhood, where the foreign community is concentrated, and it will continue to operate during the coming week. The ongoing information campaign that the municipality is conducting among this community will continue, and includes the publication of announcements in the neighborhood's streets, in English and Tigrinya; pamphlets distributed directly to homes; sending messages from the municipality via social media and volunteers; an announcement system in the neighborhood; and messages sent among WhatsApp groups. When there are additional instructions from the Health Ministry, we will act accordingly."