A company working for billionaire real estate developer Yitzhak Tshuva paid police nearly NIS 2 million ($635,000) to evacuate the last residents refusing to depart a working-class Tel Aviv neighborhood last month that is being redeveloped for luxury housing, Channel 13 news reported.
The contractor charged with the evacuation paid the sum to police to send over 1,000 officers to evacuate the few dozen people who were refusing to leave Givat Amal Bet, despite orders from authorities to do so.
Police told the network they were authorized by law to allocate officers for enforcement activities in exchange for additional payment, and did so in this instance.
Givat Amal Bet was evacuated of its last residents in November after a years-long legal battle.
The land on which the neighborhood was built had belonged to the state. In 2005, development rights for the plot were acquired by Tshuva’s real estate company Elad Israel Residence, which then engaged in a 16-year legal battle to clear out the rest of the neighborhood.
While the land is now set to be developed by the Hagag Group and Y.H. Dimri, who bought the rights from Elad — and Tshuva himself has recently sold his ownership in Elad — Tshuva has remained legally responsible for both evicting and compensating residents.
Under a final court determination in April of this year, Tshuva was ordered to compensate residents about NIS 3 million ($970,000) for each of the 11 plots that had been occupied in 1961, the total to be divided among the 32 nuclear families that were ultimately evicted seven months later.
Residents claim the money they received from Tshuva, roughly NIS 1 to 2 million ($320,000 to $645,000) per nuclear family, is not fully compensatory. Nor is it enough to buy suitable housing in Tel Aviv, recently crowned the world’s most expensive city, where the average price for a four-room (three-bedroom) apartment is over NIS 4 million ($1.3 million).