The Evangelical Alliance in Israel requests prayer after the city of Tel Aviv broke its promise to relocate churches and pressured landlords to evict the congregations they claimed violated zoning requirements as “houses of prayer.”
In November 2020, Tel Aviv Municipality issued threatening letters to approximately 25 churches, ministering mainly to migrant workers in Nave Sha’anan, south Tel Aviv, demanding their closure as they did not meet zoning regulations for “houses of prayer.”
After lawyers were engaged to contest the closures and negotiate with the municipality, the evictions were postponed. On 4 December, 2022, the Deputy Mayor, Doron Saphir, indicated he would find alternative locations for the churches to congregate. The law allows municipalities to allocate properties for “houses of prayer,” although that is usually applied to synagogues.
Under the new government, the eviction process recently restarted, with the municipality informing property owners in Nave Sha’anan that they should not rent property to churches, and instructing them to terminate existing rental agreements to evict the congregations. The municipality has so far failed to offer the churches alternate premises.
Five or six congregations are intending to share one of the few properties where the owner is still willing to rent and are trying to raise the required deposit.
Prayer is requested that:
- Tel Aviv Municipality will stop trying to evict churches and uphold their promise to provide alternate premises if relocation is necessary
- Despite the problems, the churches will be able to continue ministry among migrant workers
- The churches looking to share a building will be able to put down a deposit and cover the monthly rent