Finance Minister Yair Lapid announced on Thursday the allocation of NIS 150
million toward student housing at a National Union of Israeli Students event,
Habama Hamercazit (Center Stage), in Nordia, a moshav in the country’s
Lapid said the funds would help build 5,000 additional units in
student dormitories by 2016 – 1,000 in the periphery and 4,000 in areas of high
demand – in an effort to lower real estate prices throughout the
“I know that in the past there were promises made that remain
unfulfilled, and that is why we did not come here with empty statements but with
a practical plan, organized, that was finalized together with all implementing
parties including student organizations,” Lapid told an auditorium full of
Chairman of the NUIS, Ori Reshtick, who opened the
panel event, outlined the main concerns facing students today, primarily the
financial situation of students and the lack of affordable housing
“It cannot be that students in Israel, that are supposed to
focus on building their future, are occupied with surviving and struggling to
live in dignity and receive basic housing conditions,” he said. “In order for
young people in Israel to become citizens who contribute to the state and to
society, the state must ensure that they can focus on action rather than on
“Today we have started a new era and are moving from revolution
to resolution. We welcome the initiative to promote the construction of
additional student dormitories and will continue to work to improve the quality
of life of young people in Israel,” added Reshtick.
The NUIS event also
included remarks from MK Boaz Toporovsky (Yesh Atid) and Prof. Manuel
Trajtenberg, chairman of the Council of Higher Education’s Planning and
Budgeting Committee, who lauded the Finance Ministry decision.
presence of the finance minister at this event indicates a new spirit of
accomplishing feats together; I hope this represents a new approach and not just
because of the chemistry of the individuals involved,” said
The PBC chairman continued on to outline the accomplishments
achieved in Israeli academia over the past year.
Trajtenberg, the past year saw 680 new faculty members, divided evenly between
universities and colleges – many of whom returned from abroad. Furthermore, 12
new centers of academic excellence and research, attracting top researchers from
around the world, were built in universities throughout the
Despite these achievements, Trajtenberg also outlined the many
challenges facing Israeli academia, primarily the lack of access to higher
education among Arab and ultra-Orthodox populations and the fact that 50 percent
of the population does not reach higher education.
Trajtenberg said that compared to the rest of the Western world, Israel lags
behind in the “knowledge economy,” due to an average six year gap between
completing high school and beginning university studies.
The NUIS Habama
Hamerkazit event marked one discussion in a series aimed toward bringing
together students with public officials and politicians to discuss the topics
and issues on the national agenda.