Housing cabinet shrinks haredi benefits

Lapid says "distortions" created advantages for those who did not serve in the army and those who don’t work.

July 1, 2013 23:12
1 minute read.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid addresses Conference of Presidents, Feb 12

Yair Lapid 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

The housing cabinet led by Finance Minister Yair Lapid approved a new set of criteria for public housing on Monday, scaling back many provisions that primarily aided the ultra-Orthodox community.

“We’re keeping our promises and fixing distortions that have been present for years,” Lapid said. “The distortions created advantages for those who did not serve in the army and those who don’t work.”

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The cabinet canceled a provision that gave benefits to couples based on years of marriage, which had been helpful to the haredi couples, who tend to get married earlier on than the general population.

Housing advantages for large families were scaled back to match those of families with just three children.

Further, only those families that work full-time under existing housing definitions are to be eligible for long term leases or reduced purchasing prices.

“The new criteria for affordable housing put the working man in the center, but, at the same time, do not harm the haredi public or minorities, and encourage them to enter the labor force in a gradual and appropriate way,” said Housing Minister Uri Ariel.

The cabinet also decided to put public purchase law into effect on August 1, which would allow long-term residents of public housing to purchase their apartments at subsidized prices.

Water and Energy Minister Silvan Shalom, who carries the portfolio for developing the Negev and Galilee, urged the cabinet to approve additional steps to help the periphery at its upcoming July 23 meeting. Those steps include increased subsidies, setting objectives for marketing new apartments in the periphery, and building more rental housing in those areas.

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