Friday, January 20, 2012

Africatown in South Tel Aviv

The central bus station of Tel Aviv , considered the biggest or the second biggest passenger bus terminal in the world, is a huge complex dominating the southern part of the city. It has seven floors (three out of them used as bus terminals), entrances, bridges, excalators, elevators, shops, eating places. (I share the view of many people, that architecturally, this central station is badly designed and difficult to navigate).

exterior of the central bus station- partial view

The neigborhoods surrounding the central bus station are relatively crowded and poor. Here is where thousands (it started as hundreds, some four years ago) of africans from Sudan, Eritrea, Nigeria and other african countries find refuge. They come through Egypt, travel along the Sinai desert and illegally cross the border entering Israel - tempted by the freedom and economic possibilities here.

Once in Israel, they call themselves 'asylum-seekers' and 'refugees' who have escaped persecution in their native countries. The local population , on the other hand, sees them as 'foreign workers', 'illegal immigrants', 'infiltrators'.

There's much tension in the air, and lately there have been serious demonstrations in the above mentioned neighborhoods; residents in these neighborhoods, alarmed by the increasing numbers of migrants and the social problems created by their presence, demanded the expelling of the later back to their continent or at least to the neighborhoods of those who employ them.

Anyhow, there are humanitarian organizations that help these foreigners in many ways. On one of the floors of the central bus station, for instance, there's a medical clinic offering them health services. They can also get legal advice given by volunteer lawyers.

waiting at the medical clinic for refugees

It's one thing to read about the african "invasion" in the newspapers or watch the phenomenon on TV, and another thing to experience it in reality. I visited the area several times in the last two weeks as I was interested in buying a sewing machine at an importer's shop located on the same street with the central bus station. Well, I felt like I was in an african town. It was a strange feeling, hard for me to define it.

cute park with jobless africans hanging around

bycicle - popular vehicle among the migrants

african shoe vendor and prospective buyers

.As long as there are shopopkeepers and other business owners or rich families willing to employ the africans - there's little or no chance that they will leave. So, one should better get used to the idea that in the future the city might have an african Mayor.


  1. Emigration problem seems to be a problem of out times...I have no idea how it should be solved

  2. Where you able to find your sewing machine?

    This is the way in many countries, the best thing to do is embrace them and allow them the opportunity to use whatever skills they bring with them.

  3. Our illegals are from Mexico. I do not mind them here BUT only if they follow the proper channels and not just come across the border. There are areas of Nashville taken over by them and just like you when we enter that area we feel as if we are not in America. The problem could be fixed but NO ONE has the guts to do it or co operation from the offending nations. Have a great weekend. Peace

  4. Black Mexicans looks like to me. Can you build a wall. Drones will keep an eye on them too.

    Although you felt a bit uncomfortable Duta - were you safe?


  5. I understand the problem having lived in the southwest U.S. where immigration is a joke. The U.S. spends so much money on elaborate systems (drones, fences, etc.) that do not work. The illegals are allowed access to our public programs and seem to be better cared for than our own indigents. Why can't those who want to enter and belong to another country simply process through the appropriate channels? I had to ride a bus from a small rural Texas town into Tucson, AZ. It was a long ride and I was the only person of my race on the bus. Out in the middle of nowhere the bus was stopped and boarded by members of the Homeland Security. As the officer proceeded down the aisle of the bus I watched him pass by everyone who did not speak English and who were clearly not legal residents. He stopped only by me and requested to see my papers! What's wrong with this picture?

  6. Ola,

    "Prevention is the best of cures' - as they say in medicine. The solution to the problem lies mainly in the efforts to deny access of these migrants to their target country.


    Yes, I was. I bought a Singer sewing machine and got demonstration of how it works.

    The trouble is they don't bring any skills. They're employed in cleaning jobs and some hard physical jobs that don't require any special skills and could be done by locals.

    Lady Di Tn,

    Interesting point about Nashville.
    "No one has the guts..." Exactly.
    All seem to want to be politically correct whatever that means, and the result is often disastrous.

    One Fly,

    I didn't feel uncomfortable, just strange. Maybe it's the same. I don't know.

    I was afraid to take pictures of the migrants as they could have turned violent against me. As illegals, they resent being photographed.

    C Hummel Kornell a/k/a C Hummel Wilson,

    Thanks for the personal angle. It's accurate and sad. Your story gives us a hint to the fact that USA has entered a process of deterioration.

  7. I'm kind of undecided about this.
    We also have immigrants here, some illegal some not.

    While I don't like the idea of them taking workplaces away from us, I sometimes think about it, how I would act if I was in their shoes. :(

  8. As long as there are borders there is gonna be people who enter countries illegally no mater how high the wall or tight the security.

    I'm happy ya got the sewing machine even if ya did feel uneasy.

    God bless ya sweet Duta and have a fantastic weekend. :o)

  9. DUTA:

    All the while I was reading your post, i was wondering how Israel manages this inflow of people. I have always thought that Israel is a small country with enough problems of its own. Though, the immigrants bring a different culture and many other skills along with them, I wonder how Israel manages. Do they risk arrest as they are illegally occupying the place and partaking resources that are meant for the citizens.

    Well, there are many questions as I read this post.

    Did you manage to get what you were looking for?

    Joy always,

  10. It can happen.
    The Idea that one could be Mayor is good.
    The idea that they don't clean up the neighborhood,
    cause property to lose value, expect charity and don't work, leads to crime. That's Bad.

  11. Pink Panthress,

    I can understand your indeciseveness. Once they're here it's not easy to destroy their aspiration for a better life. However, this kind of migration poses big problems to the 'hosting' country.


    Well put.
    I'm also happy with my sewing machine. Thanks.

    Susan Deborah,

    Israel is indeed a tiny country with many problems beside the african influx.

    The african migrants are treated here fairly, but the government lacks a solid plan about the whole matter.

    La Petite Gallery,

    You're saying in fact that each coin has two sides: a good one and a bad one. Right.

    Well, the residents of those neighborhoods where the migrants have settled down, see only the bad side of the coin.

  12. You started some interesting conversations with this post. You did.

  13. This post reminds me of China Town in Kolkata, Burmah Bazaar in Chennai & Little India in Singapore.(Kolkata & Chennai are 3rd & 4th largest cities in India)

  14. The same problem in Greece!
    Many greetings

  15. Interesting post. We have been blessed by immigrants who bring much to our large country. There are queue jumpers, though. This is a difficult.

  16. This issue is not going to go away, any time soon. I'm not happy with the illegals in the U.S., but in their shoes, I would probably try to get my family here, too. There's no easy answer, because people aren't willing to take the risk of following the proper channels. Even though this has been going on here for decades, politicians are afraid of taking a firm stand, one way or the other. Alienation of any part of your voting base might be political suicide. Thus, the problem continues.

  17. The UK is under pressure from high levels of immigration, the immigrants being being very attracted to the social security system. They see the UK as a rich country which will give them hand-outs. I was glad to leave. I felt that the UK had totally lost its way, and most people I spoke to felt the same. But then, I am a newcomer to France, but we work and pay our taxes and try to be members of the community. If all immigrants did that, then perhaps their integration into the resident society would be easier. Most, though, do not do this. Another interesting and thought provoking blog, Duta.
    And also, thanks for the info about leaving comments on my blog. I think I have remedied the prob but do let me know if you continue to have difficulties.

  18. Illegal Immigrants seems to be a problem everywhere. I do not have a problem with legal immigrants as long as they go thru the proper channels. But if they are for instance in an English speaking area I believe they need to speak English or the native tongue wherever they are at.
    On a lighter note, what kind of sewing machine did you get. I love sewing, have had my machine since 7th grade...a long time ago! Hope you enjoy it!
    until next time...nel

  19. My dad came to the USA illegally from Mexico more than 60 years ago. He married an American citizen and had 4 American children. He worked his whole life growing crops on American soil. Two of his sons served in the United States Marine Corp. One of his sons is a Peace Officer, the other an American Truck Driver. My dad did become a true citizen of the USA about 20 years ago.

    I agree that dealing with illegal immigrants, especially here in our country is difficult and there are many things wrong with our system of dealing with them...but they can be good and productive American's, given the opportunity. I'm so glad my dad came to this great country illegally. He knew he wanted better for his family.

  20. I did not know about the Tel Aviv bus station...yes everyone needs a job...and home

  21. Tanya Reimer,

    So, it appears. Well, the topic of immigration is universal and it is often in the news. It has become quite a popular debate topic.


    As they say 'nothing new under the sun' - whether it's Tel Aviv, Kolkata, Singapore - we encounter the same phenomenon - that of entire quarters populated by immigrants in search of a better life.


    If you read this, please be informed that I can't place comments on your blog (and three other blogs). I've tried a lot of things, but nothing works. It probably has to do with your using the embedded comment form, and my blog lacking this form. Sorry.

    As for your comment:
    I guess it is. All of Europe is 'invaded' by foreign workers.

    Jen Jilks,

    I suppose you're referring to the more skillful immigrants that are indeed a blessing to any country.


    You've hit the nail on the head -"politicians are afraid of taking a firm stand..".

    Indeed ,it all starts and ends with the politicians' behaving cowardly. So, no solution to the problem.

  22. Vera,

    Your point of view is very interesting. That is, you think the immigrants in UK are attracted to the social security system.

    It's sad that you felt you have to leave and go to France to start from the beginning. I hear many Brits see their country as gradually deteriorating.


    I got myself a Singer basic sewing machine, but it has an automatic threader.

    I like sewing too, but I'm not that skillful. I need the machine mainly for mending things.


    That's a beautiful story. I'm familiar with some of it from reading your lovely blog.

    USA has gained a lot by absorbing the mexican immigrant (your father) and ultimately offering him the american citizenship.

    Kim & Stuff,

    It appears this not very pretty central bus station is almost the largest in the world. So, it's probably worth reading about it.

    I agree with you - everybody needs a job and home , and will go anywhere to get it.

  23. Duta, one of the reasons I enjoy my visits to your blog so much is that I always learn a lot about Israel and I do plan on visiting there someday!

    A most interesting post!
    Thank you!

    Oh, thank for the kind comment on my last post, so appreciated!

  24. We would not like seeing Tel Aviv becomes African and being build up with mosques and churches.
    Israel has faced for more than 63 years with immigration, their absorption into Israeli society and keeping its Jewish character.
    Our problems are still not solved. Foreigners are a global phenomenon, but the world countries can deal with it easier than us.

  25. My dear friend Duta
    Actually I have problems with blogger and not know how to deal with them.
    Thank you very much for your good words!
    Many greetings

  26. Margie,

    I'm glad. Keep on visiting my blog and learning more about Israel.


    Right. After 63 years of absorbing jewish immigrants, Israel is tired and unwilling to break the jewish character of the country by absorbing other ethnicities.


    It's kind of frustrating. I guess the problems are a result of Blogger's introducing of new changes or additions such as the threaded embedded comment form.

  27. Try this link:

  28. robert,

    You're Great! Thanks a lot for the link. IT HELPED! I've left a detailed comment on your blog about this.

  29. Duta,
    As many have commented here, immigration is a difficult problem for many nations. Today in the US, we hear mostly about Mexican illegals. But historically there have been immigration surges from many countries. Eventually each group has been absorbed into the fabric of our society and has contributed much to our culture.

  30. I agree with what Lady Di Tn commented here...I have absolutely no problem with immigrants here, as long as they come here legally. Its a very tough issue to deal with.

  31. Thanks for the comment. I would be nervous in that area..

    have a fun weekend. I can't wait for the Sunday Downton Abbey.


  32. Dimple,

    'Unemployment' and 'Deficit' usually bring about a second and third look at immigrants and their contribution or lack of, to a nation's well-being. They are the immediate scapegoats.


    "..tough issue .." indeed, especially in times of economic regression like this we're facing now, when people tend to blame foreigners for the bad situation.

    La Petite Gallery,

    'Sunday Downtown Abbey' must be something special, judging by the enthusiastic mention of it in some blogs and comments. It sounds like a real addiction.

  33. Interesting issue.
    Your country is very generous.

    Great post!

  34. Hi Regina,

    Welcome back to blogging! Good to hear from you again.

  35. Good questions arise and better solutions are needed!!

  36. Phivos Nicolaides,

    I totally agree with you. I suppose your country,Cyprus, has also got her share of immigrants like the rest of Europe.

  37. Hey darlin', I'm confused...this came up on my reader as 'new'....I've commented already.

    What's up???

    God bless ya and enjoy this beautiful day!!! :o)

  38. Nezzy,

    You're always welcomed here.
    God bless you too!