What began with graffiti is now turning into an active campaign supported by public officials. Graffiti slogans in support of deporting foreign migrants have become a common spectacle on the streets of south Tel Aviv.
According to information obtained by Ynet, the slogans are now turning into an actual campaign aimed to prevent infiltrators and foreign refugees from living in the city's southern neighborhoods.
The group behind the initiative is composed of activists from southern Tel Aviv and led by City Council member on behalf of the Shas faction, Binyamin Babayoff, who only two days ago claimed that educating against homophobia included "lewd and evil content".
Babayoff drafted a special notice titled "Banning apartment rentals to infiltrators." In the notice, the councilman writes: "It should be known that is strictly forbidden to rent apartments to gentiles, as explained in the Talmud.
"According to police figures, in places where illegal infiltrators live, crime rates have increased significantly, and they are responsible for 40% of criminal offences. Five murders were committed by infiltrators only during the past year," the notice read.
Babayoff also waved the real estate card, saying that "according to precedents from around the world, areas inhabited by Africans experience a significant decrease in the value of apartments."
At the bottom of the notice, Babayoff wrote: "We, the undersigned, neighborhood and synagogue Rabbis, warn the public of the imminent danger caused by renting houses to these people!!!"
The councilman explained that he and 25 other activists intend to distribute the notice to apartment brokers and post it on bulletin boards across the city. If that doesn't help, he said, they will go out on the street and protest once a week.
"In conversations I've had with senior rabbis from the south of the city, I was told they were displeased with the deterioration of filth and crime that have taken over the streets in the past year, because of these refugees," Babyoff told Ynet.
"Why do law-abiding veteran residents need to suffer because of this? People are scared of walking on the streets at night," he added.
Shelter for Sudanese refugees (Archive photo: Tamar Dressler)
Babayoff is not concerned with being called a racist. "I want to ask those bleeding hearts that say this is racism, if they would be willing to live in a building with three Sudanese refugees across the hall?
"It's easiest to toss them in the neighborhoods of the south instead of finding a solution. They bring filth and vandalism and frighten the other residents. I am wiling to have them dispersed throughout the entire city – let them live in the northern neighborhoods of Bavli, Maoz Aviv and Ezori Chen," he said.
Meanwhile, City Council Chairman and former Member of Knesset Yael Dayan slammed the initiative, calling it "completely racist and illegal."
Dayan noted Babayoff "holds public office as an elected representative of the public and the neighborhood rabbis are paid by public wages. It is an incitement toward a public that has done him no harm, and is based solely on race and religion," she said.
According to Dayan, the violence Babayoff speaks of takes place mainly among the refugees. "90% of the cases are internal rifts between those who have no jobs. They look for temporary employment and sometimes resort to alcohol and brawls."
Dayan also slammed those who take advantage of the refugees' hardship, "Landlords have Exploited the situation by increasing rental prices, and forcing six foreign migrants to live in one room, only so they can increase their profits."