‘Your parents can’t afford North Tel Aviv’ – Mayor’s shocking response to student

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai insults student about his socioeconomic background rather than providing justification for why the municipality doesn’t invest in improving dangerous and neglected neighborhoods.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai insulted a high schooler who asked why the politician doesn’t invest in improving the city’s southern neighborhoods, Hebrew-language Channel 14 reported.

Huldai was delivering a lecture about human rights to 12th graders at a south Tel Aviv high school when he was reportedly enraged by an inquiry from a student during a question-and-answer session.

“I asked [Huldai] why he doesn’t invest in the southern parts of the city the way he does in the north,” recounted 18-year-old Aviram Malki during an interview with the station.

South Tel Aviv has long suffered from rampant crime, prostitution and public drug use, along with other serious quality-of-life issues that have severely impacted its residents. Many in the community have complained that their concerns – such as large influxes of illegal migrants – are ignored by municipal authorities.

“After I asked the question, he said he prefers to invest in north Tel Aviv. I asked him why, and his response was that it’s not his job to build for us and remodel our houses. I told him forget about remodeling, what about infrastructure and public spaces?”

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Rather than answer Malki’s question, Huldai sniped, “It seems your parents don’t have enough money to buy an apartment in north Tel Aviv.”

Malki said that Huldai and the teachers demanded he “sit quietly” when he began to respond to the mayor’s offensive remarks.

“I don’t understand how it’s legitimate to speak that way to a student who asked a reasonable question,” Malki said. “He silenced us and didn’t let us express our opinions.”

To date, Huldai has not apologized nor responded to reports about the incident.

Doron Avrahami, a longtime community activist in Tel Aviv, told World Israel News that Huldai’s remarks are reflective of his opinions regarding residents of the White City’s underserved neighborhoods.

“The cat is out of the bag. Ron Huldai’s true feelings towards the residents of South Tel Aviv are beginning to come out,” Avrahami said.

Avrahami noted that Huldai is a vocal opponent of judicial reform and has publicly lamented that “our country is ‘changing its face,’” a common refrain used by anti-overhaul activists.

But thanks to Huldai’s “discrimination” and favoritism towards northern neighborhoods, Avrahami said, “the ghetto that he has built in south Tel Aviv will continue to exist, because of him and his leadership.”

Huldai also told students that south Tel Aviv “looks the way it does because your parents voted for the right-wing” parties, Channel 14 reported.

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The mayor has framed the potential changes to Israel’s legal system as a “good guys vs. bad guys” scenario and has suggested that “bloodshed” will be necessary to save Israel from “dictatorship.”