Sir, – At last, the people woke up (“Tent protest goes mobile as 1,000
demonstrators march to Knesset,” July 25)!
Rents are far too inflated for
students, for middle class people with large families, for seniors who live on
small, fixed pensions. No, not all seniors are rich, own homes and have
children to support them.
In many cities and towns there are no two- or
three-room apartments being built. Why? So that the cities and the builders can
reap the benefits? All residential structures being built now should include
both large apartments and small, inexpensive ones. We do not want to create poor
and rich neighborhoods.
We need a strong, integrated society.
of us wants to go to the hospital, lie in the corridors and be tended by an
exhausted, overworked and underpaid physician. Our food prices are inflated. We
pay more for products made here by us than for the ones we import. One pays less
to vacation abroad than here in Israel.
Does any of this make sense?
Sir, – As an architect practicing privately in Israel
since 1961, I was amazed when I found that zoning regulations for a particular
plot of land pertained not only to the total area built, like in South Africa,
but also to the number of units (apartments, hotel rooms, etc.). In the numerous
apartments we designed in 50 years, no small units were ever included.
recent years I designed the division of large apartments into two or three
smaller ones – of course, not legally. Let the limitation on density, or number
of units, be canceled and we will see small apartments mushrooming everywhere,
as they are more profitable, especially for rentals.LEON CHARNEY
Sir, – I am so happy that the public is trying to do something about landlords
who rip off tenants with no consequences whatsoever.
Landlords know that
once an apartment is vacated, another tenant is waiting in line – and, even
nicer, is willing to pay a higher rent. It is a disgusting state of
I believe that to rectify this problem, landlords should be made
to pay an annual license fee in order to rent out an apartment.
addition, the property should have to pass a thorough inspection by an
experienced city official before it is rented out.
The property should
have adequate sanitation, screened windows that open, hot and cold water, and in
general be livable.
A relative of mine has been living with his wife and
four small children in a run-down 3.5-room apartment for six years. Six years
ago the monthly rent was NIS 3,200 ($800). Now they are paying NIS 4,200; at the
current exchange rate this is $1,400.
The family is going to move out
soon and the next victims will move in. The landlord will apparently charge them
NIS 4,800.MIRANDA SALTZ
Sir, – The students and other young
people protesting high rentals are only pretending to be concerned for the
They are concerned only about themselves.
be protesting against their own parents, who chose capitalism as the way of life
in Israel. This is what capitalism is all about! Get as much money as you can
and trod on the poor.
I guarantee you, when these young folks finish
their studies and become successful, they will buy an apartment as an investment
and will protest against rent control.LAURIE BENTNER
Sir, – I
agree that the cost of housing and rentals in Israel has gotten out of hand, but
in a free society we are governed by supply and demand.
The building of
homes in Judea and Samaria was stopped two years ago by US President Barack
Obama and has not resumed yet. The consequence is that many people who would
have moved into that housing were obliged to compete on the open market for
I wonder how many of those complaining of the high cost of
housing and rent applauded the freeze in Judea and Samaria, and even in
Jerusalem. In addition, how many of them demonstrated against the repatriation
of illegal migrants – who are obviously living somewhere – and in favor of
bringing to Israel Ethiopian Christians, which will just exacerbate the
Sir, – Bravo to the brave young people
demonstrating for affordable housing and against a government whose raison
d’etre seems to be just to hang on to power at all costs.
Some 30 years
ago I took part in demonstrations for changing the electoral system because I
believed – and still do – that the proportional system creates a coalition of
small parties that can override the majority. A small but loyal group of
Israelis joined our mainly “Anglo” organization but, by and large, the Israeli
public did not identify with our objectives: accountability to the electorate
and a majority vote for a political party that can implement its
That is one reason I am so proud of this outburst for a social
agenda that would take care of the needs of the majority, and not just of those
with power and wealth.MITZI KLEIN
Sir, – While the housing and
cottage cheese protesters are to be commended for taking to the streets to
highlight problems attributable to a culture that promotes profit and ignores
social needs, any success will be negligible.
In our society, there would
appear to be only one effective slogan: We will not vote for
Unfortunately, past experience with so-called centrist parties, with
the tendency of their MKs to be seduced by the trappings of power, is far from
Sir, – The tent protesters are
demanding rent control. But only for themselves. They couldn’t care less for
half the Jews in Israel, the lower classes that can’t afford rent-controlled
apartments or even food. The protesters are very upper class.
a follow-up investigation in 10 years. When these protesters get on their feet,
have a family and own their own home – but inherit an apartment they decide to
rent out – they for sure will be protesting very loudly against rent
Sir, – Wow, did Larry Derfner read this one
wrong (“Israel’s lost generation,” Rattling the Cage
, July 21)!
generation he describes is nothing close to lost. In fact, it is actually on to
something very significant.
I have been traveling the country for the
past two months as we establish branches in every city for Am Shalem, the new
social movement led by Shas MK Haim Amsalem.
Whether I am in Tel Aviv,
Jerusalem, Mevaseret Zion, Petah Tikva or Lod, and whether I am meeting with
secular, traditional or religious Jews, I hear the same message: We are sick and
tired of hearing about the Palestinian issue. It is a stalemate.
have been told for decades that this is the most pressing issue, the country has
been decaying from the inside.
It is time to start focusing on internal
issues and building a proud Jewish state. If this means there will be wars, then
there will be wars. At least we will have something precious worth fighting
There is no greater sign that bright things are ahead than when the
younger generation focuses on internal and social issues, and will not let
itself be distracted by those who rattle the cage over the Palestinian issue. So
kudos to what Derfner dismisses as the “wingless” and “lost”
Jerusalem The writer is national field director
for Am Shalem