Photo Credit: Shai Pal via Unsplash
Tel Aviv and Jaffa (Yafo)

The Central Bus Station in south Tel Aviv is slated for closure by December 5, if the owners of the property do not obtain permits and licenses from Fire and Rescue Services, and the Ministries of Health and Environmental Protection.

The facility must also meet current accessibility standards as well.

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The closure decision comes after the Tel Aviv Local Affairs Court decided not to grant an extension to a 2016 closure order, because the owners had made no effort to obtain any of the needed permits.

All bus departures and arrivals were originally set to end by 2023, according to the original evacuation plan, after which the building was to be repurposed.

Nearly 400 privately-owned stores in the building allegedly contain flammable materials and have made no adequate arrangements for fire safety, the city and Fire and Rescue services said in a joint statement quoted by Ynet.

“The station is in legal proceedings in the absence of a license. In order to obtain said license, the holders must obtain a permit for a business license or a temporary permit from a number of parties: the Fire Authority, the Health Ministry and the Environmental Protection Ministry. It is also necessary to fulfill the requirements regarding accessibility in the building.

“Since the station’s management has not acted to obtain all the necessary approvals required for the building, the municipality is required to close it in accordance with the court order,” the statement said.

The municipality is required to close the building in accordance with the court order, but owners have until December 5 to file an appeal and/or obtain a license.

“I do not think it is appropriate to allow the property to continue operating without a license when the refusal of the Fire and Rescue Services is so resonant and substantial,” Justice Benjamin Hirschel-Doron wrote in his decision, adding that the risks posed by the lack of a license outweigh the damage to business owners in the building.

Passage to the public transportation area of the station is solely through the commercial section.

Attorney Tzvi Shuv is representing the private store owners in the building. “This is another result of the deliberate neglect. . . which leads to more and more store owners being forced to sell their rights until it is completely taken over by the station’s parent company, ‘Natsava,’” he said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, the Tel Aviv Municipality is one of the factors that neglect the station,” he added. “The municipality should have promoted proper planning and licensing for the station decades ago, in which hundreds of thousands of square meters are built without a permit and without a plan.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.