The Tel Aviv and Israeli authorities are always in a moral dilemma regarding the ways to help the foreign residents of the Neve Sha’anan neighborhood in south Tel Aviv and provide them with appropriate community services since they are not citizens of the state and many, perhaps the majority, have infiltrated the country illegally.
This week, the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality opened a vaccination station against the coronavirus in the neighborhood, and the facility immediately attracted hundreds and thousands of vaccine seekers.
The neighborhood of Neve Sha’anan was established in south Tel Aviv in 1921. In 1938, the decision was made to open the first central bus station in Tel Aviv (“the old central station”) in the area on the neighborhood’s northwest corner.
In 1940, the old central station was opened, with streets that were named after regions of the country: the Lowlands, the Negev, the Galilee, Samaria, and the Sharon.
Bus parking bays and a terminal for municipal lines with an information station were added to the sprawling station. The Egged Driving School was established there as well.
Tel Aviv’s new central bus station, a large, 7-story bus terminal, was built in 2002, also in the Neve Sha’anan neighborhood.
Even before the closure of the old central station, the station area and the rest of the neighborhood became a vibrant and colorful slum that attracted tens of thousands of foreigners, legal and infiltrators, from Africa and Southeast Asia.
It is estimated that almost half of the residents in the neighborhood are migrant workers and asylum seekers. They have created for themselves their own private and unique frameworks, organizing unlicensed kindergartens in private apartments, converting basements into local churches, and using various places in the neighborhood for congregating around the clock.
As befits a slum, life is not safe in today’s Neve Sha’anan, but at last, the locals will be safe from the raging pandemic.