Fighting for Environmental and Housing Justice

21 October 2021

A coalition of activists in Tel Aviv including NIF grantee Achoti (Sister) for Women in Israel have finally won the decades-long battle to remove the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station from its current site. The battle was led by Achoti Executive Director Shula Keshet, who is also a member of Tel Aviv – Yafo City Council and head of the Campaign to Vacate the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station.

Keshet has been active on the matter since the late 1980s when she fought for the rights of Neve Sha’anan residents harmed by the Old Tel Aviv Central Bus Station. Through a combination of raising public awareness, legal action and lobbying in the Knesset, she won millions of shekels in compensation for the residents of Neve Sha’anan and is fighting for similar compensation for residents near the current Central Bus Station.

She said, “Every extra day that the Central Bus Station continues to operate is an injustice for the tens of thousands of residents of South Tel Aviv who suffer heavy air pollution and a long list of other environmental and social hazards due to the central bus station. We are carefully following developments. From the moment that the bus station is vacated, we will do everything to ensure that what is left behind is dedicated to the welfare of the residents of South Tel Aviv. We won’t again abandon the future of our children to real estate businesspeople and millionaires.”

A concrete monstrosity, and one of the biggest social, health and environmental hazards in the history of the State of Israel, Ministry of Health figures reveal that women living near the bus station are twice as likely to die of lung cancer than the national average. Of the 100,000 women living near the bus station, 46 were diagnosed with lung cancer as of 2016, compared with the national average of 23.

In an agreement announced earlier this month, the Tel Aviv Municipality agreed to vacate the current bus station by 2023 and move it farther away from residential neighborhoods. The agreement was reached after the Israel Land Authority committed to compensate the municipality with an equal amount of land elsewhere in Tel Aviv.