Outpatient anti-immigration activist on house arrest for asylum seeker daycare interruption

A prominent anti-immigrant protester was released into house arrest Friday night after being detained in connection with a pre-school break-in for the children of asylum seekers in south Tel Aviv during the school day.

Sheffi Paz was first detained for 48 hours after she and another protester broke into a kindergarten at Tel Aviv Central Bus Station on Tuesday while the children took part in an activity to a Jewish festival Identify Hanukkah.

The two confronted a kindergarten teacher in a classroom, in front of the children, as well as other employees.

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The event took place at a preschool run by the organization Unitaf, which enables educational programs for children without status in Israel – ie those with asylum-seeking parents, migrant workers or undocumented.

Video footage of children celebrating Hanukkah while Sheffi Paz and another activist broke into a preschool run by the Unitaf group at Tel Aviv Central Bus Station (Screen grab)

Paz has been campaigning for years against the housing of African immigrants in its southern Tel Aviv region.

Earlier this year, she was one of three people briefly arrested on suspicion of spray-painting slogans against the Supreme Court of Justice outside the home of his chief justice, Esther Hayut.

The graffiti damage read: “Esther Hayut, you buried Zionism,” and “Thanks for burying the right of return in Tel Aviv,” as well as, “The High Court destroyed the south of Tel Aviv. ”

A month earlier she had admitted to sending stickers outside Vzielman’s Supreme Court Judge’s home, an act that prompted her to file a police complaint.

These stickers carried the slogan “Jewish blood is free – Supreme Court of Justice,” a play on a slogan used by right-wing Jewish activists campaigning under the message “no blood Free Jew. ”

The stickers, also marked by the “South Tel Aviv Liberation Front,” Paz group, appeared to refer to a High Court ruling that barred the government from deporting migrants. from the neighborhood where local residents say they are a cause of crime.

South Tel Aviv resident and activist Sheffi Paz will speak in South Tel Aviv on April 2, 2019. (Roy Alima / Flash90)

In the last few years, the 35,000 African immigrants in Israel have been detained, threatened with deportation, and hostile to lawyers and residents. The High Court has pushed back against the government’s plans to imprison or deport the migrants, saying a solution must be found in accordance with international norms.

While many of the immigrants claim to be refugees fleeing conflict or persecution, Israel sees them as a threat to the Jewish character of the state.

Asylum seekers, mostly from war-torn Sudan and dictator Eritrea, began arriving in Israel in 2005 through its crooked border with Egypt, after Egyptian forces overthrew a refugee demonstration in Cairo and the dissemination of words about safety and job opportunities in Israel.

Tens of thousands crossed the desert border, often after dangerous journeys, before Israel ended a blockade in 2012 that stopped the influx.

Organizations contributed to this report.

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