Meet Tel Aviv’s “orphans of society”: homeless, vulnerable, and ignored by the state.

It is summer 2011, and Tel Aviv is gripped by waves of social protests over the cost of housing. While the world is focused on these demonstrations, in south Tel Aviv a more urgent story is unfolding. Mirroring their more affluent neighbors, the city’s homeless establish a tent city in Levinsky Park, located in one of the poorest areas of Tel Aviv. When the police move in to evict the tent city’s residents, they¬†are once again left to fend for themselves on the streets. Abused, addicted, post-traumatic and vulnerable, Tel Aviv’s homeless are caught between a welfare system that is ill-equipped to meet their needs and a society that is blind to their suffering.

Bums, Go Home

Director’s statement Bums, Go Home 2015

As a longtime social activist I was a founder of the Levinsky tent in summer 2011. I assisted several homeless people in entering the rehab stage and we became acquainted with the exhausting and frustrating bureaucratic journey on the path to getting help.

With homeless people I came into contact with municipal inspectors, the police and hospitals. They are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Housing (providing assistance with housing), the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and the National Insurance Institute. Each body carries out its work separately. And not only is there not an entity that coordinates care for the needy and gives one comprehensive answer, but these bodies are even prone to competing with one another.

It very quickly became clear to us, to our great regret, that many of the officers dealing with the homeless do not know the complexities of such care and do not have the sensitivity required to look after these people.

I documented and filmed friends from the encampment with iPhones, professional cameras, causing police to be reprimanded following a film that we uploaded to YouTube.

I decided to document Rotem and Relly, exposing the road a homeless drug addict needs to take in order to start on a new path in life.