A lack of affordable housing was the topic that spurred this summer’s tent
protests, yet the recommendations by the Trajtenberg Committee on Socioeconomic
Change on the matter “remain nothing more than ink on paper,” Knesset Economics
Committee chairman Carmel Shama-Hacohen (Likud) said on Tuesday, reflecting the
opinions of committee members in both the opposition and the
The committee gathered to discuss a variety of housing-related
topics, including drafting a bill based on the housing chapter of the
According to Construction and Housing Minister Ariel
Attias, the report included plans that had already been implemented. For
example, most years 45,000 homes are built in Israel, but 77,000 are in the
planning stages for next year, “as a result of hard work, not of Trajtenberg,”
Shama-Hacohen pointed out that housing prices have gone down
since the protest, due to steps taken by the Finance and Housing Ministries as
well as the Bank of Israel, but said that it is not enough.
called for the government to approve his proposal to require five percent of all
public housing to be dedicated to the poorest families, saying that the
government can afford it, but the funds need to be allocated.
social justice – if we don’t do this, it’s social injustice,” he
Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov attended the meeting, saying that
he represents Israel Beiteinu on the housing crisis.
He called for any
new policies on public housing to give priority to families in which both
Prof. Raffi Melnick, a member of the Trajtenberg Committee,
pointed out that the recommendations on housing focused on young, working
“There is a worrisome phenomenon in which the rate of
participation in the workforce is low, and the situation is only getting worse,”
“We thought we’d encourage the population to
MK Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas) accused Meseznikov of racism against
haredim and Arabs, which Meseznikov denied, saying that he’s faced
discrimination as an immigrant from Russia.
MK Isaac Herzog (Labor) also
slammed Meseznikov, saying that he has proposed dozens of bills on public
housing, which Israel Beiteinu rejected, because they are “the most capitalist
and the most privatizing party in the state.”
Attias explained that
giving priority to working couples would disqualify 49 percent of those under
the poverty line, in which only one parent works, saying that the initiative
would “shoot at” the poorest cases.
No votes took place during the
meeting, and Shama-Hacohen said the topic requires further
“Twenty MKs and two ministers participated in this meeting,
and this just shows the importance of the matter,” the committee chairman
“The numbers are clear, and the government can’t ignore them. We
can’t just take new apartments out of our pockets, but we are putting pressure
on the government.”
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