Meretz calls emergency housing conference

Amid reports Lapid plans to revoke Public Housing Law, MK Gilon says he has "opened war" against weakest people in society.

May 30, 2013 17:35
1 minute read.
MERETZ ACTIVISTS led by MK Ilan Gilon (second left) protest for public housing in Jerusalem

Meretz public housing protest 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Meretz called an emergency conference following reports on Thursday that Finance Minister Yair Lapid plans to cancel the Public Housing Law.

“Instead of declaring war on poverty, Lapid opened a war against the weakest people in society,” said MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz), an outspoken advocate of public housing.

Lapid plans to attempt to revoke the Public Housing Law, according to a report in TheMarker. The law gives tenants in public housing the option to buy their apartments at reduced prices after renting for an extended period.

A spokesman for Lapid said that action on the law was not imminent, and that it was still under discussion and would not be taken up at the upcoming housing cabinet meeting.

Although it was passed in 1998, the Public Housing Law’s implementation was postponed in the Economic Arrangements Law year after year. It was first applied in January of this year, following a High Court of Justice ruling on a petition submitted by Gilon and former industry, trade and labor minister Ran Cohen (Meretz), who had proposed the law.

Cohen plans to attend the conference on Monday, as will representatives of all parties in the Knesset.

“It’s not clear what name Lapid is trying to make for himself in the days since the government was formed, but he can already be called ‘chief grave digger,’” Gilon quipped. “Every red line has been crossed.”

According to Gilon, Lapid will be remembered as the man who buried the last remnant of government responsibility for citizens.

Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich also denounced the proposed cancellation, saying the Public Housing Law was one of the most just measures the Knesset ever approved.

Although the law was blocked from being applied year after year for “political reasons and plain evil,” Yacimovich said, no finance minister dared try to cancel it before Lapid.

“[The Public Housing Law] does justice to the poorest and most excluded groups in society and gives them some property, which they should be able to own anyway,” Yacimovich said. “In the short time the law was implemented, it fixed injustices and immeasurably improved the situations of poor families.”

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