Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday addressed protesters from
Tel Aviv and around the country who are staging protests against rising
housing costs. "Come protest in Jerusalem," the prime minister said at
the weekly cabinet meeting. "Help me pass land reform [laws]."
I am aware of the rent crisis.
I am certainly aware of the housing crisis. The government doing things here
to repair this blight that has vexed the State of Israel for many years.
We are a small country. We have a very large demand for apartments,
both for purchase and for rental, and there are not enough apartments.
There are not enough apartments because we have two insane bureaucracies
that prevent the planning and marketing of apartments; today, it takes more than five years to plan an apartment in Israel.
And prevents the marketing of an apartment.
We are now attacking these two things.
Tomorrow, the proposal to complete the historic reform at the Israel Land Administration will reach the Knesset
so that we will be able to market apartments. I call on all those who are now demonstrating,
I understand their plight, to come and help us tomorrow,
myself and the government, in the Knesset to pass this. This is the first thing.
The second thing – We have 13 days in which to pass the national housing committees,
the law to bypass the planning bureaucracy, so that we may proceed quickly.
Thirteen days, this means that in the next two weeks we will submit
two historic laws that the State of Israel has been awaiting and hoping for because
only together will it be possible to bring about a genuine start of the housing solution.
I would like to say in advance that it will take between one and three years
to channel tens of thousands of apartments into the market.
But this is what will resolve the issue; this is what will provide a genuine solution.
Whoever would like to help is invited to help us pass these two items.
The government is working to address the issue, Netanyahu said, "there is a large demand and there aren't enough apartments."
Knesset on Sunday canceled a committee meeting on the housing
crisis scheduled for Monday. Instead, an emergency discussion officially named "Who's afraid
of bursting the real estate bubble" will take place Monday.RELATED:
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previously-scheduled Knesset Finance Committee session was canceled
after Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias and Finance
Minister Yuval Steinitz canceled their appearances.
Protesters currently living in tents on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard
should bring their struggle to the Knesset and be patient as land
reforms are passed and implemented, Netanyahu said. "It will take
between two and three years to channel tens of thousands of apartments
into the market. But this is what will resolve the issue; this is what
will provide a genuine solution."
Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias (Shas) said on Sunday in
an interview with Israel Radio that the high housing prices in Tel Aviv
are a result of a shortage of apartments and a lack of available land in
the city on which to build more.
He said that there is available land in Modi'in, Rosh Ha'ayin, Yavne,
and Herzliya, where it is possible to build up to 25,000 units in the
next two years.
Irate over soaring real estate prices in Tel Aviv and elsewhere across
the country, hundreds of people set up a tent city over the weekend at
the northern end of Rothschild Boulevard, and vowed not to break camp
until the government presents a solution to the rising cost of putting a
roof over one’s head.
The tent city protest comes a few weeks after a Facebook campaign to
boycott cottage cheese attracted more than 100,000 followers and drew
the attention of politicians and captains of industry alike. Like the
“Cottage Cheese Intifada,” the new protest appears to be an entirely
grassroots affair that took wing on Facebook, addressing an issue that
directly affects the pocketbooks of Israelis.
By Friday afternoon, around three dozen tents were set up in the
boulevard’s pedestrian midway, as was a “living room” complete with
mattresses and couches.
On Saturday, the National Students Union announced that it is joining
the protest, and said that beginning on Sunday, students will set up
protest tents in Beersheba and at Rupin College north of Netanya. In
addition, they announced that tents will be set up at the Beit Berl
College in the Sharon region and at Tel Hai College in Kiryat Shmona.