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Tel Aviv’s Anger at African Immigrants

A few weeks ago, in a fit of hatred, someone, or some more than one, threw Molotov cocktails at a kindergarten and apartments used by foreign workers in south Tel Aviv’s Shapira neighborhood, “causing significant property damage but no injuries or loss of life,” in journalese.

This week I took a walk in Shapira. It was Wednesday, the day after the demonstrators returned – some protesting government policy on labor migrants, others against the migrants themselves and still others expressing solidarity with them and denouncing racism.

I myself participated in a few of the latter protests over the past few years. I took part out of a sense of duty as a human being, as a parent, as an Israeli citizen. I still believe it’s right to go out and protest all acts of violence and racism, but I have come to understand that only those who live in Shapira or a similar neighborhood are aware of the heavy price paid by long-time residents, foreign refugees and work migrants themselves.

I am no stranger to Shapira, having visited it on a few occasions to walk around, to check out housing options, to visit friends, but this was the first time I came to see “the other.” “The other” being D., a 25-year-old refugee from Eritrea who has a work permit. He, like most of the people I spoke to for this article, asked to remain anonymous.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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