ben-david family tent city shachar park 521.
(photo credit: SETH J. FRANTZMAN)
MK Faina Kirschenbaum (Israel Beiteinu) petitioned the High Court of Justice on
Monday over Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias’s (Shas)
controversial affordable housing program. The Ayalim Association, which
establishes student and entrepreneur villages in the Negev, joined Kirschenbaum
in filing the petition.
Attias’s affordable housing program, which the
Israel Land Authority’s (ILA) managing council approved last month, has drawn
considerable criticism because it excludes earning power from its eligibility
In her petition, Kirschenbaum asks the court to overturn
Attias’s decision to omit earning power in determining eligibility. She states
this discriminates against the general public in favor of the ultra-Orthodox
community, in a way she said on Monday is “arbitrary and
Under Attias’s program, longterm married couples with
children would score high on the priority list for rent-controlled apartments,
according to which the ILA must publish “price for occupancy”
The tenders would allocate rent-controlled units in the
following way: 45 percent to families with children aged three years or more;
35% to families with children aged one or two; and 20% to individuals aged 35
and over, or to families without children.
Half of the tenders would
prioritize specific sectors of the population according to a point system, with
married couples being eligible for up to 70 points – dependent on how long they
have been married – a slight drop from the 80 points that Attias originally
“I filed this High Court petition to get answers about why the
Construction and Housing Minister ignores taxpayers who are struggling to cope
with the cost of living, and why the minister prefers to give housing priority
to longterm married people without taking into consideration earning capacity,”
Kirschenbaum said on Monday.
In addition to Attias, the petition also
names as respondents Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Yuval
Steinitz, Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein and the ILA, and accuses the state
of deliberately omitting the Trajtenberg Committee’s recommendations regarding
earning power and military service as criteria for affordable
One of the committee’s recommendations was that “fully exploited
earning power” must be a condition for receiving rent-controlled apartments –
meaning that to be eligible, a couple must together achieve 125% of a work week
or be actively looking for work.
The petitioners say the issue of
affordable housing is “extremely weighty and touches the heart of Israeli
society and its character,” and argue that Attias’s housing plan should
represent the wider public rather than, as they argue, “giving unfair advantage
to a minority population.”
In a statement peppered with housing-related
puns, a Kadima spokesman accused Kirschenbaum of “showing no confidence in the
government” by petitioning the High Court over Attias’s plan.
Beiteinu’s petition against Minister Attias is an unprecedented governmental
move to break the coalition, whose obvious meaning is that there is no
‘landlord’ at the head of the government and that the housing solution’s
‘address’ isn’t the current government in which [Israel Beiteinu] sits,” the
spokesman said.Nadav Shemer contributed to this report.