The Tel Aviv Magistrates Court has ruled that the last eighteen families living in the Givat Amal B neighborhood in Tel Aviv will vacate the land in exchange for financial compensation totaling NIS 33 million to be paid by Elad Israel Residence Ltd., controlled by Yitzhak Tshuva. The company is building luxury residential towers on the site.
Judge Menachem Klein surveyed the history that led to the current situation, and mentioned that in 1948, during the War of Independence, after the Arab residents fled the village of Jamusin, the Tel Aviv municipality settled Jewish refugees from the areas of the battles in the south of the city on the site. Unlike the neighboring areas of Bavli, Tsameret and Givat Amal A, however, the status of Givat Amal B was never regularized.
In 1961, it was decided that BP Diyur, the company that received the land from the state, would build residential buildings, and that the residents would be entitled to apartments equivalent to those that would be built. BP Diyur never carried out construction, however, and in 1987 sold the land to Dankner Investments, which eventually became Elad Israel Residence after it was bought by Yitzhak Tshuva's Delek Real Estate.
In 2015, Elad Israel Residence sued for the eviction of the residents of the Givat Amal B site, most of them the second or third generation descendants of the original residents who came in 1948. Some of the residents settled with Elad Israel Residence and vacated their homes in return for financial compensation.
Elad Israel residence brought legal proceedings against the eighteen remaining families that still live on the site. In August 2017, after he had visited the site, Judge Klein proposed a mechanism whereby each family would receive compensation of up to NIS 2 million, depending on the circumstances of each case.
The sides turned down the proposal and the legal proceedings continued. The judge found that the various authorities had been negligent in dealing with the matter, and that the residents were entitled to compensation in return for vacating their homes, in line with commitments that had been made to them over the years.
Klein found that Elad Israel Residence had proved its ownership of the land and its right to require the eviction of the residents, but rejected the company's claim that illegal construction on the land prevented the residents from appealing against eviction or claiming compensation. "I reached the conclusion that the residents should not be penalized for 'injury to the rule of law' as the claimant argued, but rather the opposite - I found that to grant an eviction order without compensation would injure the rule of law and the public's confidence in the legal system," Klein stated. He ruled that appropriate rent would be deducted from the compensation money if the residents failed to vacate the land within 30 days of the money being deposited with the trustee, as an incentive to comply with the ruling without drastic enforcement measures.
Under the formula determined by Klein, each of the eighteen families will receive between NIS 829,000 and NIS 4.1 million, with most of them receiving NIS 1.5-2 million, and Elad Israel Residence will pay NIS 33 million in total.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 17, 2018
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