Tel Aviv inspectors destroy food with bleach in raid on African restaurants

Photo by Aladin Abaker, posted on Facebook by Assaf.
 
A patron of a Sudanese restaurant in southern Tel Aviv snapped photos of municipal inspectors destroying food by pouring bleach on it, as part of a raid on about 10 businesses run by African migrants on Sunday night. Our Observer, who owns the restaurant, believes the authorities are cracking down in an effort to pressure African migrants into leaving Israel.
 
There are over 50,000 African asylum seekers living in Israel, mostly in Tel Aviv. While they have papers allowing them to reside in the country, the vast majority of them are not permitted to work. However, the government has largely turned a blind eye to those who do so illegally. They mainly do menial labour, such as cleaning work, often for less than minimum wage. A few fare better: Tel Aviv authorities report that about 150 businesses, mainly located in the south of the city, are run by African migrants, many without licenses.
 
According to the nonprofit Assaf, which works to defend African migrants’ rights, there are several ways in which they can run businesses. There are the few who have work permits, of course, but there is also an illegal way: working in partnership with Israeli citizens, who are the business owners on paper.
 
Sunday’s raids were carried out by municipal inspectors accompanied by a large police contingent. In some cases, they confiscated equipment, such as refrigerators; in others, they soldered doors shut. According to Tel Aviv’s Deputy Director General Ruby Zaluf, the authorities did this “to eradicate the undesirable phenomenon of businesses operating illegally, with sanitation and safety problems, and illegal connections to electricity and water; and sales of alcoholic beverages without permits.”
 
According to Assaf’s advocacy coordinator, Orit Marom, such raids are common in Tel Aviv, occurring at the rate of one or two a week, but raids on such a scale are rare: “This might be due to the fact that municipal elections are right around the corner,” she says. Tel Aviv’s mayor is up for re-election in October.
 
Tensions between Israeli citizens and African migrants have become particularly apparent in southern Tel Aviv over the past year, with repeated protests and acts of violence against Africans.
 
A patron of Abdalla Mustafa's restaurant watches as municipal inspectors destroy food with bleach. Photo by Aladin Abaker, posted on Facebook by Assaf.
Contributors

“They destroyed so much food – more than 200 kilos of frozen meat alone”

Abdalla Mustafa is the owner of a Sudanese restaurant in southern Tel Aviv. He is one of the few Sudanese migrants – less than 500 - who were given work permits when they arrived during a first wave of immigration back in 2006.
 
The authorities came into the restaurant Sunday at dinnertime and told us our food was not good, not fresh. They didn’t explain why they believed this. I told them that we had bought all the food that day and the day before, and that anything older than that was in our freezers. I showed them my license, but that didn’t satisfy them. I also told them I could give them the phone number of the butcher where I bought my meat, but they didn’t want it.
 
They then proceeded to pour bleach on all the food. There was so much food – more than 200 kilos of frozen meat alone. [Following the release of the photos taken in Mustafa’s restaurant, which were widely relayed through social media, the Health Ministry released a statement explaining that inspectors had destroyed food because “it was stored in inappropriate temperatures and food came from unknown sources.” They did not specify which businesses they destroyed food in.] They didn’t take any samples for testing. They told me I could keep the restaurant open for now, and that they would call me with further instructions.
 
I’m certain that they did this because they don’t like us, because we’re not Israeli. They keep asking me to renew my licenses, which I’ve done several times already since I opened the restaurant two years ago, but nothing satisfies them. They’re harassing African business owners so that we’ll leave Israel. And indeed, many Sudanese migrants have left recently, finding it too hard to survive here. Myself, I’m trying to leave, hopefully back to Africa. This is no way to live.
 
 
Photos by Aladin Abaker, posted on Facebook by Assaf.
 
Post written with FRANCE 24 journalist Gaelle Faure (@gjfaure).

Comments

Israel practices using food safety as a way of discrimination

First, I know public safety is a concern but lets be honest the legal African worker tried to provide evidence that the food was fresh but the Israeli inspectors did not even try to check on it before they destroyed all the food.

Second, the issue of having someone that is Israeli as owner on paper. Well alot of countries do that because even though the one on paper legally owns it but if the arrangement allows the one not on paper to run it then doesnt make it less legal. Many countries call this a partnership, an extreme example of this is China that requires all the companies to have some form of partnership with a Chinese citizen or government entity.

Third, why the focus on African migrants, I bet there a lot of Israeli restaurants that need some checking out as well, who knows if the Israeli owned restaurants are being unsanitary. See even when they checked out the African migrants restaurants they really couldnt describe or provide any documents that the food was unsanitary.

Israel finding another way to harass people of another race but this time using local inspectors to complete the job.

Time for the world to witness

Jews have been chased across this earth for nearly 7,000 years for your arrogance and misdeeds concerning the sacred knowledge bestowed upon your people to guide and stewart mankind. Instead your ancestors took this knowledge and used it for person gains. Discrimination,Fear, and Loathing has been a by word for the jew since then. (We) are here now, and what you do unto G-ds creation will now be done unto you. You were given a great responsibility ions ago, and failed miserably, when will you learn, children of David? You are not the 'chosen people', as G-ds chooses none of his/her creation, over the other, but you were made anointed, held high, and much divine trust was given. You have failed as your descendants are even more arrogant and benign than their ancient predecessors. All of G-ds creation is sacred, every tear, every ounce of blood is precious. The world will watch as your tribe finally crumbles , and is scattered to the FOUR CORNERS of this earth because you have broken your vow to the Most High, and continue to do so with no care of the divine repercussions. You are dearly loved Israel, but with much is given, much is respected in return. WE can no longer silently stand by as you destroy this earth, a sacred vessel for ALL.

SUDANESE FOOD BLEACHED

This is normal practice for Iraqi and Iranian Jews. They even do it in Amsterdam

Primitive?

Given that all the standards would have to have a procedure, destroying things without reproach is wasteful!
Closing down a shop until it meets standards means that when someone reaches it, it can be opened again, but calling their methods "primitive" when you have no proof, makes you sound like a racist and a bigoted one at that!

I have seen methods that question the validity of the inspection, so when it is done in such a way that destroys everything and leaves the place with a stench that means people cannot even go into the place in question, it is malicious and not a professional manner.

Saddens me that a human being needs to treat another human with such discord that they justify it by any means necessary. We are all mortal and when hate is such that you can't live a life of happiness then that is no life at all...

This is cruel on all levels

How cruel is this, they could have just told the Sudanese to shut down the resturants they did not have to destroy their food.

You would think that these people who run this country would be simpathetic to others who are in exile.

Well looks like they have forgotton how to be humble and caring toward others that are struggling to survive.

This is cruel on all levels

How cruel is this, they could have just told the Sudanese to shut down the resturants they did not have to destroy their food. You would think that these people who run this country would be simpathic to others who are in exile. Well looks like they have forgotton how to be humble and caring toward others that are struggling to survive.

Israel gives food for thought

The Israelies certainly know how to make friends and influence people. They are as good at it as the Gestapo were, but maybe they have forgotten that interlude.

Food hyygiene in Tel Aviv, Israel

Dear Sirs,

I may have been the catalyst for health departments throughout Israel cracking down recently on less than acceptable standards in food preparation in public eating places.

A few months ago I visited Eilat and contracted a very severe case of dysentary. It must have originated from somewhere so I did some research and sure enough I learned that there had been similar cases where I had eaten. I wondered if it had originated with the African workers who may have worked in the hotel kitchens. I wrote to the Eilat Health Authorities describing what I had seen and experienced. They advised me that they were taking action not only in Eilat but throughtout Israel as result of my complaint.

A short time later I was surprised to see in the area where I live food preparation workers wearing plastic gloves on both hands. Usually you see them wearing only one glove. In my complaint, they were not wearing any gloves.

I wonder where African workers who come from primitive remote villages in Africa learn high standards of hygiene as many from these remote villages do not even have running water. Many local Arabs have been observed leaving toilets and not washing their hands. It is less likely with Israeli Jews.

what a racist statement

I take offense with the use of the word primitive. You would think that a people whose history is full of unfair treatment would go the extra mile: 1) to be informed before making wide and generalized statements; 2) inferring that food poisoning in Israel is never a result of ignorant/ill-trained Jews and finally 3) assumes that because one hails from a remote village that they are vile humans without any knowledge of sanitation. This, this right here is why so many Jewish people in the US are no longer blindly supporting Israeli policies and pushing back. The individual that wrote this appears to be extremely ignorant if not downright racist.

Great observation.

Perfect observation of the situation...

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