A few weeks ago, an artistic prankster made interesting use of some empty space on the massive billboard hiding the building site of the White Tower residential project on the corner of Allenby and Rothschild. The developers had printed the following sentence, ostensibly written by architect Richard Meier:
"Building this White Tower over the White City is a dream come true"
our prankster turned it into:
"Building this White Tower over the White City and ask people for 13,000$ a square metre is a dream come true."
Needless to say, the artistic addition (effective, despite the bad grammar) was speedily eradicated. There's a homeless guy who lives under the billboard now - a completely unintentional but even more effective condemnation of the system in which some pay in gold to live in luxury while others are destined for the gutter. Not that by-passers seemed to notice -neither the art work nor the homeless guy.
Nevertheless, the problem of affordable housing in Tel Aviv is now becoming acute. It's provision is one of the campaign promises made by the ir le-kulanu (a city for all of us) movement that is running for the November municipal elelctions. This week, its unofficial leader, Member of Knesset Dov Hanin who represents the Jewish-Arab/communist party Hadash formerly declared that he would be leading the list. Hanin (or Kehnin) is widely considered to be an excellent, hard-working and effective MK, a fearless warrior for the environment and an all round good guy. The fact that he's a communist (and represents a party that is mainly Arab) is going to turn off most voters but ir lekulanu is less of a party in the normal sense and more of an agglomeration of all sorts of social and environmental ngos. I hear that there's no leadership structure in the normal sense and Hanin had to be severely pressed to declare his candidacy.
Ir le kulanu is not going to win the elections but their plans for sensible public transporation systems, a greener agenda, affordable housing and above all, an understanding of what makes Tel Aviv , Tel Aviv (e.g. artists, students, high-tech entrepreneurs, ultra-orthodox families, old people and young secular families living in the same neighbourhoods and sharing local facilities) - is likely to win them a lot of support, especially from young people. Here's their site (Hebrew only, to be launched 31.8.08)