Border Police may be deployed to south Tel Aviv to calm migrant-related tensions
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Border Police may be deployed to south Tel Aviv to calm migrant-related tensions

Government weighs new tactic in effort to keep neighborhoods safe, reassure residents

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

A migrant whose window was smashed during a demonstration in south Tel Aviv Wednesday. (photo credit: Roni Schutzer/Flash 90)
A migrant whose window was smashed during a demonstration in south Tel Aviv Wednesday. (photo credit: Roni Schutzer/Flash 90)

The Public Security Ministry is considering placing Border Police in south Tel Aviv in an attempt to combat crime and reduce friction between residents and migrants, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Thursday.

As part of an effort to help the area’s understaffed police and residents who feel unsafe, Minister Yitzhak Ahronovich is “examining new ideas,” a source in the ministry told Yedioth.

Sigal Rozen, a worker at a help hotline for African workers, said that the residents of the southern neighborhoods of Tel Aviv suffer daily. However, she told the paper, “Placing Border Police members in the area will only worsen the situation.”

The ministry has used Border Police within cities on rare occasions before. In 2010 a company was placed inside the city of Lod after multiple murders took place.

Association for Civil Rights in Israel lawyer Oded Feller said the government should heed the police’s recommendation that the African migrants be allowed to work. Such a move would lessen the need to steal for food, he said.

South Tel Aviv residents protest the presence of illegal immigrants on Wednesday. (photo credit: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
South Tel Aviv residents protest the presence of illegal immigrants on Wednesday. (photo credit: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

South Tel Aviv, where thousands of African asylum seekers have found shelter, has seen local residents and others taking to the streets calling for their deportation.

A number of asylum seekers have been accused in recent weeks in a spate of sexual assaults and other crimes in the area.

On Wednesday, a demonstration against “the infiltrators,” as the government has termed them, turned violent, with 12 people arrested for attacking migrants. The same day, the attorney general ruled it legal to deport South Sudanese who don’t qualify for asylum back to that country.

Following the protest, Peace Now warned that MKs were inciting the crowds to violence and racism. Minister Eli Yishai said he objected to any speaking style which incited violence, while MK Miri Regev (Likud) told Army Radio she understood where the frustration and violent erruptions came from.

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