The coalition agreement Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid signed with Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday called for creating a housing cabinet, chaired by
Yesh Atid, to deal with the soaring cost of housing.
The cabinet will
include the ministers of justice, construction and housing, environment,
interior, agriculture, energy and water, and transportation.
days of the government being seated, the construction and housing minister is to
present eligibility criteria for housing entitlements that replace criteria
having to do with marriage with financial need, in accordance with
recommendations by the Trajtenberg Committee on Socio-economic Change. The
marriage criteria was a boon to the ultra- Orthodox, whose tendency to marry
early provided them greater access to housing aid.
More broadly, the
policy guidelines in the coalition deal Netanyahu signed with both Lapid and
Bayit Yehudi’s Naftali Bennett promised the new government would do “everything
in its power” to reduce the cost of housing.
Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi
outlined details of a housing plan in identical portions of appendices attached
to their coalition deals.
The appendices required the Construction and
Housing Ministry to work with the Prime Minister’s Office and Finance Ministry
to establish a plan for 2013-2014 that would amend the 1960 Construction and
Planning Law, encourage building on available lots, reduce bureaucracy and
empower the prime minister to head or appoint a chairman for the Israel Lands
Just before the election, Netanyahu promised to appoint Moshe
Kahlon, the outgoing communications minister credited with reforming the
cellular phone market, to lead the ILA.
Proposed changes to the
Construction and Planning Law would devolve responsibility over housing matters
from regional councils to local authorities, a step intended to reduce
bureaucracy and strain on the regional councils.
It would increase the
permitted space for residential building in designated lots by 20 percent, allow
local authorities to designate some housing for “long-term rental” and allow an
increase of up to 25 percent of the space in existing lots to be used for
residential, commercial or office building.
Land-owners currently not
utilizing available land for building will be fined.
The agreements also
stipulated ways to make licensing more efficient by eliminating hearing required
for submitting building plans, and creating provisions to deal with sewage
problems associated with new housing.
Finally, the agreements called to
extend the term of 2011’s Construction Law, but amend it within 18 months to
allow areas under “national housing designation” to run urban renewal and
evacuation/ building programs, which temporarily remove residents to allow for