Livni speaks at Herzliya Conference 390.
(photo credit: Courtesy of Kadima)
Coalition and opposition MKs continued to slam new Israel Land Authority
criteria for affordable housing at a meeting of the Knesset Local Authorities
Caucus on Wednesday.
Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov presented Israel
Beiteinu’s position on the ILA program, which gives more eligibility points
towards affordable homes to those who served in the IDF – but not to families in
which both parents work.
“This is a war on our home, and our right to buy
a home,” he said. “The rule should be that whoever gives [to the state] should
get in return.”
Meseznikov commended Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
and Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Attias for including points for
those who served in the IDF, but said that the change is
Calling the current situation “twisted,” the tourism
minister said that employment – even if it is part-time – should be a
prerequisite for eligibility for affordable housing.
“This is important
for the lion’s share of Israel’s population, the majority that was quiet for a
long time, but not anymore,” Meseznikov said.
However, he added, Israel
Beiteinu does not see this as a reason to leave the coalition. Rather, the party
will work within the government to “bring social justice, without banging on the
table, making threats and further dragging the country into
According to opposition leader Tzipi Livni, affordable
housing is possible, as long as the government changes its
She also called for those who serve in the IDF and pay income
tax – “those who joined the public protest” – to receive more eligibility
As long as ministers don’t feel the consequences of the housing
crisis personally, there will not be a real change, she added.
“This is a
political battle, and as long as we act like there is no opposition and
coalition in these matters, there will not be any demands for change,” Livni
MK Ze’ev Bielski (Kadima), the caucus chairman, said that the
issue is not political, and crosses party lines because it affects all of
He added that this meeting is “expressing the cry” of those who
are not receiving housing, which he called one of the basic things a government
must give its citizens.
According to Bielski, most newlyweds are not able
to support themselves without their parents’ help. “We need equal distribution,”
MK Faina Kirschenbaum (Israel Beiteinu) took issue with the fact
that single parents are almost automatically ineligible for affordable housing,
because being married adds points.
The major reasons for eligibility
points should be IDF or national service, and working and paying income tax, she
“Otherwise, affordable housing will exist – but not for the general
public,” Kirschenbaum explained.
Knesset Housing Caucus Chairwoman Miri
Regev (Likud) pointed out that the topic of affordable housing is not new, and
that it includes public housing programs and homes for rent, neither of which
were addressed by other MKs in the meeting.
“Employment is not the most
important issue when it comes to housing,” Regev said. “First and foremost,
everyone should have a roof over his head, whether he bought or rented
She explained that affordable rental homes are also
“Whoever thinks last summer’s protests are over is mistaken,”
MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima) stated.
“People have expectations and we have
to fill them.”
Plesner emphasized the need for “equality in carrying the
public burden,” which he said should be expressed in the ILA criteria.
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