Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

Human rights supporters protest hurling of Molotov cocktails at asylum seekers in Tel Aviv’s Shapira neighborhood

Posted by Christopher Coen on April 28, 2012

***UPDATE*** — April 29, 2012, Tel Aviv Police arrest suspect

Attacks on African asylum seekers in Israel continued with a series of Molotov cocktails thrown at apartments where the asylum seekers live, including an apartment used as a daycare center for children, in the Shapira neighborhood in south Tel-Aviv. The government buses the Africans to this disadvantaged neighborhood (site of Tel-Aviv’s bus station) after they have illegally crossed the border from Egypt. Now, some of the other inhabitants of the neighborhood, instead of addressing the government’s actions, are blaming the asylum seekers. In response. Israeli human rights supporters have rallied in support of the asylum seekers. (The goal of the asylum system in Israel under the current government is to reject as many applicants as possible. Those who stay in Israel are subject to confinement and official repression, e.g. targeting by police). An article at Ynetnews.com has the story:

Some 200 social activists on Friday protested in Tel Aviv’s Shapira neighborhood after Molotov cocktails were thrown at four apartments where African asylum seekers reside, including an apartment used as a daycare center for children.

Maya, one of the activists who rallied in support of the asylum seekers, said: “We came here to try to calm the spirits down, and help the victims of these attacks feel that there are other people who do not carry messages of hate.”

Another activist noted that Thursday’s incident “stemmed from a feeling of frustration and helplessness harbored by the residents of the neighborhood, who are rightfully angry at the government for neglecting their neighborhood. But on the other hand there are the refugees, who are also suffering.

“This area is becoming hell,” the activist noted, adding that “the two sides need to level their criticism at those who are responsible, instead of blaming each other. The government needs to give alternatives and address these problems – otherwise the situation will deteriorate,” he said.

Shapira resident Lior Levy said he came out to show solidarity with the refugees. “Many of the residents demand to have them deported, mainly for racist reasons. These are helpless people. This neighborhood was forsaken in the hands of racist groups like the KKK, who wish to terrorize innocent people.

Baso, 26, from Sudan, said he does not believe the police will do anything because “they think in the same manner as the people who did it. They probably think we shouldn’t be here,” he said… Read more here

Also, Haaretz reports that a Molotov cocktail was thrown at African migrants at a Shapira neighborhood park.

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