July 27, 1990 Anno Domini
Israel ‘s homeless population is growing as the result of Soviet immigration, with potentially explosive political consequences. Squalid “tent cities” have been established in several Israeli suburbs, as a result of the immigration of some 50,000 Soviet Jews to Israel since January. The flood of immigration has led to the doubling or tripling of rents for many apartments , simultaneous with increasing layoffs of the Israeli work force.
Soviet families arriving in Israel are guaranteed a year’s free rent by the government. Consequently, all the homeless are Israeli nationals who have been evicted to make way for the immigrants.
In June, Housing Minister Ariel Sharon addressed one such tent city, in Rishon el Zion, where he promised that they would all soon receive homes through a crash program of housing construction, some of which, it is said, will be on the occupied West Bank. Through this ruse, the Israeli government could honestly claim that it is not illegally housing the Soviet immigrants in the occupied territories.