Knesset vote 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The central bill in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's housing reform
passed in its third (final) reading on Wednesday 57-45, after a
three-day marathon discussion in the Knesset.
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presented their reservations about the National Housing Committees Bill
for hours on Monday and Tuesday, and on Wednesday, chairman of the joint
Knesset Economics and Interior Committee on the bill Carmel
Shama-Hachohen (Likud) and Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Atias
defended the government's plan.
Atias compared the current construction planning process to a traffic jam.
"People wait in line for five years, because plans are backed up," he
explained, adding that the new bill will drastically shorten the
The housing minister also addressed the complaints that the bill does not provide enough "accessible housing."
"The real problem is that there is no legal definition for 'accessible
housing' – who deserves it, how much money would that person make,"
Atias explained. "We would have to pass a separate bill for that."
Shama-Hachohen spoke out against those who said Netanyahu and his housing bill are helping real estate tycoons get richer.
He scolded opposition MKs for spreading "senseless hatred, which caused
the destruction of the [second] temple on the ninth of Av 2,000 years
"Anyone who saw this bill, or even skimmed it, knows that only the
government, municipalities and the Israel Lands Authority can submit
plans to National Housing Committees," he pointed out.
The National Housing Committees Bill is one of the central components of
Netanyahu’s housing-reform plan. The bill is meant to circumvent usual
construction- planning bureaucracy in order to build new homes.
The bill would allow for the temporary formation of six national-housing
committees, which would work to accelerate the process of approving
building projects in the next year and a half.
There will be one committee in every region in Israel, which will be
responsible for providing all of the authorizations necessary to begin
construction only for projects with over 200 homes, built mostly on
state land and include “accessible housing.”
Reacting to the passage of the bill, opposition MKs slammed Netanyahu in addition to the law itself.
Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) criticized Netanyahu immediately following the
bill's passage. "Despite the social struggle," Horowitz said,
"[Netanyahu] imposed the Housing Committee law on the Knesset, and is
deceiving the public by saying the Housing Committee Law will solve the
housing crisis. Horowitz called the law "a gimmick designed to cover up
the failures of the government."
Kadima reacted by called the current government "bloated," saying that
"it has also proven that it is also the opaque in Israel's history."
Ministers in the government, the statement added, "speak highly about
paying attention to the public struggle but in action, spit on [the
public] in the Knesset."