Israeli police evicted on a single mother, Rachel, and her daughter, from their apartment, owned by the public housing company of “Amidar”, in the city of Yavne, January 23, 2012. The company forced the family out of the apartment and sealed the house, although they were living there since 1967, without offering them any other housing solution. Keren Manor/Activestills
Rachel Levi-Davida, a homeless woman from Yavne, who was evicted from the Amidar flat where she had grown up, intends – with the help of activists - to build a wooden house instead of a Succa during Succot, and to make it her permanent home. 8 months after her eviction, she has no other way out.
Rachel Levi-Davida calls on other homeless men and women to follow her example and set up such social “outposts.” She hopes to slowly create a trend whereby vulnerable citizens take control of their fate and build themselves housing without government help: building a home in place of the one seized by the state.
The event will take place in Yavne during Hol Hamoed Succot: Tuesday, 2.10, at 19:00. We will meet at the Yavne Central Bus Station.
Rachel works for minimum wages, but her work does not provide her with a minimally decent living whereby she can rent a flat for herself and her daughter. More than 8 months have passed since her eviction and she has moved between family and friends, with no home.
Rachel was evicted from the Amidar flat where she had grown up because, after her mother’s death, Amidar did not recognize her as a daughter who can continue to live in public housing. In spite of her poverty and the absence of another housing solution, the fact that she does not have more than 3 children presents an obstacle – she does not meet the formal criteria. On the other hand, the government has not been concerned that her minimum salary should be a living wage and Rachel has found herself in a situation where she has no job security and, with her low wages, cannot buy or rent a home.
The day after building her wooden home, Rachel is expecting to give evidence at the “Peoples’ Court for Public Housing” which will operate in Bat Yamas a peoples’ tribunal.
Activists assisted by Rabbis for Human Rights and other organizations will work with Rachel.
Rachel: “I, too, deserve a small piece of land like the Havat Habodidim in the Negev, like the watchtowers in the Galil and like all the settlement of this kind that the authorities authorize as legal after the event, I also want, as an equal among equals, to build my house on a vacant piece of land without it being destroyed. I have no other way of obtaining housing in Israel.”
Additional biographical information about Rachel
Here is the letter sent by Rachel on the subject to the Members of Knesset, Ministers and, especially, the Minister of Housing:
To: Minister of Housing – Mr. Ariel Atias
Subject – Request to find a housing solution for myself, independently, without relying on the state.
Petition – to allow me, a homeless woman, to receive authorization for a small piece of land for building on my own.
Petitioner – Rachel Levi-Davida, homeless because of the power of the state
My name is Rachel Levi-Davida and since birth I lived in an Amidar flat in Yavne up until 23/1/12 when I and my 24-year-old daughter were thrown out into the street and made homeless by the power of the state.
In 1998, my mother – may she rest in peace – died, and Amidar and the Housing Ministry did not recognize my right as a daughter to continue in public housing in spite of our difficult situation and knowing that I had no housing solution. 6 months’ ago, after a protracted legal battle,the court decided on eviction and allegedly with my agreement we were forcibly evicted from our small secure home in Yavne. With no place, I and my daughter move between houses and the street and there is no answer and no chance that we can change our homelessness.
Unfortunately, I understand that the state does not see its duty to help me in my situation with housing, and rather is ready to actively make me homeless. 6 months have passed and I am still waiting for state assistance and there is no assurance of a solution. We have no more doors open to us and no corner where to lay down our heads. With all that, I believe that the state will at least not prevent me from building a house myself, independently, not asking for help from the authorities or their involvement. I would just like to check that I will not be evicted from this house too, which I will build, and for this reason I am applying for permission.
Your excellency, I know that there are all kinds of framework where people are given pieces of land from State land, as in the case of Havat Habodidim in the Negev. I would be happy for the same thing, being granted a small parcel of land in the area of Yavne where I can build my house. It will be built from environmentally-friendly materials and meet the required standards.
I turn to you and ask for your generous help in obtaining authorization which will prevent me from being evicted from my house again.
This petition is being made so that you will not say that I did not ask and so justify my eviction. Your Excellency, I am asking you for a license of the kind that citizens receive, I am asking for equality as an equal among equals. If the state cannot assist me in finding housing, at least it should not make it difficult for me to build anew house by myself, as housing is a basic and fundamental right for living a life with respect.
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