Friday, March 21

Back to the ma'aberot, one more Nimby in Jaffa

The Tel Aviv municipality has started to construct a tent camp in Jaffa, a refugee camp basically, for the many homeless refugees from Darfur and Eritrea currently staying in the over-crowded and dangerous shelters and the park in the area of Tel Aviv's central bus station.
Yes, it is about time the establishment takes responsibility for care for the many refugees who have come into the country from Egypt.
There is not only a moral obligation to do so, but a legal one as well: the state of Israel signed the various relevant international agreements relating to the rights of refugees and it is about time those rights were fully recognized: visa, health, welfare, adequate housing, employment , education for the children as well as language studies for the adults and perhaps vocational training for those in need of it etc. etc. and of course financial assistance until the refugees find employment and will be able to fend for themselves.

There is no doubt NGO's can no longer take that responsibility: the sheer numbers and depth of distress of the people coming in from the hell that Darfour and Eritrea have become, demand state intervention and responsibility in the form of a well-integrated absorption and assistance plan. The refugees are not a "short term problem" that will go away if you do not think about it. Such a plan should relate to the short, mid and long-term problems and solutions.

The state, instead of what was mentioned in some publications about providing every refugee with 2000 NIS to help him or her with housing and first expenses, is not actually doing anything.
The Tel Aviv municipality, faced with a major humanitarian and health crisis (last week a shelter caught fire and by sheer luck there were no major incidents nor wounded), decided to do something, which is great. To take some responsibility, excellent.
But why build a ma'abera (transit camp)? And if that is the only solution, why in the already weakened south of the city, in Jaffa?
Moreover, those responsible for it, will be the Jaffa welfare department (according to Ha'aretz), who already are over burdened and under staffed. Already their level of functioning is way below what i would call merely adequate.

One more NIMBY in Jaffa. It's unfair both to the refugees and the Jaffa population.

Why not construct the tent camp in north Tel Aviv? I can think of some excellent, large, green locations which already have the necessary basic infrastructure. More over, there are good bus-lines, excellent schools and health clinics in those areas, so why not?
But it is municipal election year and it's the guys in the north who vote for Huldai no? I guess that's why.

When thousands of new migrants from the USSR arrived some 15 years ago, caravan camps were established as a first line of housing solution. Rightfully, this solution was criticised and funny enough the majority of the people sent to those caravan camps were Ethiopian migrants. Now it's a tent camp
, they are constructing. Back to the fifties.
skin colour have anything to do with it?


Lirun said...

the tent camp plan has been cancelled and a former medical facility in the north of telaviv has just become the home for 150 refugees..

i doubt its because they read this post..

sadly for me - a biannual operation that used to run in that building to feed hundreds of poor households (mainly ethiopean and elderly) over passover and rosh hashana will now have to relocate.. i dont know where it will move to.. the lady running the operation is a cashier at a supermarket.. its not like she has unlimited resources..

The Bears From Hell said...

Dont know Lirun, if it would be possible to do it legal the municipality would have expelled Yudit to Greenland.

yudit said...

a freebie holiday on municipal expenses in lovely cold Greenland...
sounds great to me :)

yudit said...

Given the fact there are a few thousand refugees in Tel Aviv , a nice solution for 150 refugees is great, but not enough.
As to food hand outs, i doubt there are many Ethiopian residents in north Tel Aviv, except for some dormitory students.
Usually it is a problem for poor people to have to trave a long way on buses to far away food hand outs (just ask the Jaffa residents who have to go all the way to Rishon leZion to Pithon Lev and then travel back on the overloaded buses with their heavy bags of food.
But the truth, there is a much more honoring way ofr food hand outs: pay higher wellfare payments , so people won't need them, or, give peopel a credit card like pre-paid card (filled with money according to their need defined by the social security institute or social worker etc.),they can use in any store and buy what they need when they need it. To quote my friend S: "the day after i received the monthly parcel, they cut of my electricity, so my fridge no longer works. I ad to throw out the lot.
If i could go to a store and get what i need day by day, it would help me much more."

Lirun said...

the food we hand out is not perishable..

thanks for being "supportive" of our work..

i always find it laughable when people discourage people from giving.. i know for a fact that the families receiving these parcels are nothing less than appreciative..

i hope that you never become one of them.. and if you become one - may no one ever discourage the people who who go to great lengths to help you..

yudit said...

Lirun, if the elderly would receive a liveable pension, they would not need food hand-outs. The same goes for other poor people.

Food hand-outs , however necessary under the current budget, should NOT BE necessary.

It has nothing to do with support for people who try to do some good.