Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar
arrived Tuesday in south Tel Aviv
to examine firsthand the situation of African nationals in the area.
"This is one of the most difficult, sensitive and charged issues Israeli
society has to deal with," Sa'ar remarked.
Israeli residents of neighborhood protested to the minister, with one calling: "People here are living in terror."
Sa'ar in south Tel Aviv (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Conversely, Baher Adam, a Sudanese refugee from Darfur,
appealed to Sa'ar and said: "I'm a victim of
persecution and violence in Darfur. I came here to seek asylum. I also care for the suffering of the Israeli residents of the neighborhood. We understand them.
"But I didn't come here to hurt anyone; we just want our status to be recognized. When Darfur has peace and security, we'll return immediately," he told the minister.
Photo: Motti Kimchi
Adam further explained: "When a crime occurs in the neighborhood it's hard on us the same as it is on the residents. We refugees are also victims of violence.
"What we and the residents really need is a regularization of the situation, because the two populations – residents and refugees – are under the custody of the Israeli government," the African migrant said.
"We know what Gideon Sa'ar did for education
and we hope he'll make a change here as well."
Mai Golan, a radical right-wing activist who resides in the neighborhood, cried in front of Sa'ar and said:
"Yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day,
but you must understand that we live here in a ghetto.
The people who live here and I have no lives."
Touring the accommodations of the residents and foreign nationals, Sa'ar remarked that "no one should live under these conditions."
At the end of the tour the minister said, "The government's policy is to return the infiltrators to where they came from or to other countries.
"This should be done according to the law and the values of the State. These are human beings."
Sa'ar added: "The problem wasn't created in a day, and it's inadvisable to create an impression that it can be solved in a day.
"The situation must be changed, and that's what I intend to do."
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