We helped asylum seekers and got elected – now they have a voice

Shula Keshet, executive director of Achoti (My Sister) - for Women in Israel, campaigns for refugees and has been elected to the Tel Aviv City Council

Shula Keshet speaking at an election event, 2018

Shula Keshet writes in the Times of Israel blog, “I founded a radical Mizrachi feminist movement, belong to a party that welcomes Jews, Arabs, migrants and asylum-seekers, and have just been elected to the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Council, defeating right-wing nationalists in the process. It was an election upset, no doubt, but the result means more than left-right politics. It means that communities so often removed from power have a seat at the heart of the city.

People say my own journey tells the struggle of those who live in south Tel Aviv, a municipality long neglected by our government. Our neighbourhoods became a place of women plying their trade, drug trafficking, crumbling infrastructure and ethnic tension, stoked by those with an agenda.

Over the past 15 years, tens of thousands of asylum seekers – many having suffered violence and political persecution – were thrown into south Tel Aviv, in particular into the Neve Sha’Anan neighbourhood, where the old and new bus stations are located. Suddenly we had this influx of thousands of people into our community with no local knowledge, who couldn’t speak the language, and who completely lacked the tools needed to integrate into the Israeli society.” (More…)

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