The Petah Tikva municipality disconnected dozens of apartments where African asylum seekers were living from electricity, the mayor doesn’t like seeing black people in public, and casual racism has a common occurrence. Faisal, a refugee from Darfur, describes what it’s like to live in a city where he is unwanted.
By Yael Marom
The following testimony was sent to us by Faisal, an asylum seeker who came to Israel in 2008, and who now lives in the Israeli city Petah Tikva after spending two years in Holot detention center in southern Israel. His testimony comes on the heels of a new campaign of persecution by the Petah Tikva municipality against foreigners with the wrong skin color.
The current wave of anti-refugee actions began after the municipality announced that in order to decrease the number of “infiltrators” in the city, dozens of apartments that have been split by landlords and are rented to asylum seekers will be disconnected from electricity and water. Mayor Itzik Braverman took to his Facebook page to make the announcement, writing that he had warned that “should the authorities not take every action necessary, the municipality will be forced to take action as it sees fit. The patience of the residents is decreasing in the face of the authorities’ apathy. I do not intend to lend a hand to this apathy, and if necessary I will forcibly prevent the entry of foreign workers to the city.”
These messages came just four months after Babikir-Adham Uvdo, an asylum seeker from Darfur, was beaten to death by two Israeli teenagers. The reason the for the beating: Uvdo dared to speak to a group of Jewish Israelis. The two teenagers kicked him in the head for an hour and a half, leaving him for unconscious. He was found gravely wounded, and was transferred to a hospital where he was pronounced dead after four days. The two boys were indicted for manslaughter — not murder — since the according to the prosecutor, it could not be proven that their intention was to kill Uvdo, and that they were not motivated by racism.
Last week, Mayor Braverman’s threats became a reality, and 30 apartments were disconnected from apartment and water, rendering them unlivable. Dozens of people found themselves in the winter cold without anywhere to live. In the meanwhile, they took showers in the sea.
A day before the mayor’s decree went...Read More