Neve Sha'anan is a neighborhood (shkhuna in Hebrew) built in between Tel Aviv's city center and Yafo, the old Arab village. The name roughly translates to 'peaceful abode'. It was supposed to be an oasis of serenity with mixed culture and orchards. Things worked out totally different however. Over the years Neve Sha'anan became mostly neglected, becoming the 'underbelly' of Tel Aviv. The construction of an enormous central bus station also didn't raise the appeal of the neighborhood. It took 25 years, and by the time it was finished most of the territory was not used and abandoned.
Eventually the prices dropped in Neve She'anan and so the people it attracted where often migrants or drug addicts and homeless people, giving the neighborhood a bad reputation.
Considering my Hebrew is at an absolute beginners level I rely today on local Ira Rozina. She worked for quite a few NGO's and specializes in human rights law.
Don't let them stay too long, and don't let them have kids
She explains to me that there are two words in Hebrew for migrants in search of a new life: 'mehager avoda' which translates to immigrant worker and oved zar', foreign worker. The latter having a more negative connotation. It depends a bit on the current policy trends which is used most. "Sometimes there's a need for foreign labour and sometimes they want them out of the country. But however: don't let them stay too long, and don't let them have kids."
It becomes clear that Neve She'anan has always been a poor neighborhood. But lately the migrants became the main scapegoat to blame for the general deterioration of the area. The xenophobia this fuels revealed itself later on when near a playground a women is clearly harassing supposed migrant, while filming it with her smartphone. The children don't seem that impressed by this kind of behavior but also used to it, which somehow makes it all the more appalling.
"I understand the fear of the Israeli government", 28 year old Teklit Michael explains. He's a refugee from Eritrea and lived in Israel for 10 years now. " I understand the fear of this country, they're surrounded by enemies, they want to know who we are as well. But I fled from a dictatorship myself, we are no threat for their country."