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PHOTOS: Migrants celebrate new year amidst rightist march

Despite a demonstration led by MK Michael Ben-Ari calling for mass deportations, and alongside a heavy police presence, south Tel Aviv’s immigrants celebrated the new year.

An Israeli woman shouts at an African immigrant during an anti-immigrant demonstration organized by right-wing activists in south Tel Aviv on December 31, 2012. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/ Activestills.org)

As 2012 came to an end, the situation of the thousands of migrant workers and asylum seekers in Israel remains as uncertain as ever. As a grim reminder of the past year and an omen for what is yet to come, MK Michael Ben-Ari and his extreme-right supporters held another protest calling for the immediate expulsion of all “infiltrators” as a supposed solution to all of South Tel Aviv’s problems, leading to the deployment of a massive police force meant to prevent any trouble from spoiling a night of partying.

MK Micheal Ben-Ari shouting slogans during an anti-immigrant demonstration, organized by members of his political party as part of their election campaign, in south Tel Aviv on December 31, 2012. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/ Activestills.org)

 

Israeli police prevent right-wing protestors and residents of south Tel Aviv from marching to Levinsky Park during an anti-immigrant demonstration  on December 31, 2012. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/ Activestills.org)

On December 30, police released information about the rape of an 83-year-old that had taken place a week earlier. For reasons unknown, the police also choose to release the suspect’s background, identifying him as an Eritrean national. Oblivious to numerous police statistics indicating that the migrant population has lower crime rates than the general Israeli population, a demonstration against African refugees and asylum seekers was immediately called, sparking fears of another race riot, such as the one that took place last May in the Hatikva quarter.

 

An Israeli confronts at an African immigrant during an anti-immigrant demonstration in south Tel Aviv, on December 31, 2012. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

 

A human rights activist (holding the sign), arguing with a right-wing protestor during an anti-immigrant demonstration in south Tel Aviv, on December 31, 2012. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Ben-Ari, the self-appointed defender of the poor and dispossessed of South Tel Aviv, was at the forefront. It is interesting to notice that many in the protest were heard shouting slogans against Interior Minister Eli Yishai and his Shas party. As right-wing politicians continue to verbally assault Africans in order to score electoral points, and as violent attacks against the migrant community keep on going unpunished, the debate on Israel’s immigration policies keeps shifting further to the right.

 

An African man hiding near his belongings during an anti-immigrant march in south Tel Aviv, on December 31, 2012. At the far end of the frame, a Border Police officer and a right-wing protestor with a megaphone, escorting the march. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

 

An African immigrant looks at an anti-immigrant demonstration held by right-wing activists in south Tel Aviv on December 31, 2012. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Notwithstanding a year marked by increasingly violent racist demonstrations, arson attacks and even a full-scale pogrom in the Hatikva quarter, many migrants took to the streets of south Tel Aviv to celebrate the new year. For a few moments, between December 31 and January 1, the Neveh Sha’anan pedestrian mall was illuminated with fireworks, as many danced in the streets amid police horses and border police patrols.

 

Immigrants celebrating New Year’s Eve in Tel Aviv’s southern neighborhood of Neveh Sha’anan, January 1, 2013. Police forces were patrolling the area following an anti-immigrant right-wing demonstration that took place earlier in the evening. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

 

Immigrants celebrating New Year’s Eve in Tel Aviv’s southern neighborhood of Neveh Sha’anan, January 1, 2013.  (Photo by: Shiraz Grinbaum/ Activestills.org)

 

Immigrants celebrating New Year’s Eve in Tel Aviv’s southern neighborhood of Neveh Sha’anan under police surveillance on January 1, 2013. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

 

Immigrants celebrating New Year’s Eve in Tel Aviv’s southern neighborhood of Neveh Sha’anan, January 1, 2013. Police forces were patrolling the area following an anti-immigrant right-wing demonstration that took place earlier in the evening. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

 

Kids lighting fireworks and celebrating New Year’s Eve in Tel Aviv’s southern neighborhood of Neveh Sha’anan, January 1, 2013. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

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  • COMMENTS

    1. “Infiltrator” has become a xenophobic label. Even if an iron curtain closes Israel’s borders, there can be no excuse for this treatment of legal aliens.

      The billboard photo, above, is rather metaphorical.

      The very next photo has a Border Guard smiling as fireworks at lit. No painting in a single color–anywhere.

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