Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday urged all politicians to work with
him to fix the housing crisis, after the Construction and Housing Ministry
announced that 6,900 housing units would be built in 38
“Let’s work together for solutions. We will solve the
housing crisis,” Netanyahu told the Likud faction, adding he would support
initiatives from the coalition or from the opposition.
PM responds to tent protesters: Come protest in Jerusalem
‘Revolt over rent’ launched in Tel Aviv
The crisis is “an
important challenge that we will overcome,” he explained to the Likud MKs. “We
need to take care of the problem at the root.”
The prime minister
mentioned the final bill in the government’s Lands Authority reform, which was
approved in its first reading on Monday, as well as his bill to speed up
planning for construction, which the Knesset Economics and Interior Committee
are preparing for their second and third (final) readings, as “two basic tools
that will bring many more homes to the market.”
“We ask for cooperation
from the opposition on a tax measure that will encourage people to put empty
apartments on the market,” Netanyahu said.
“I hope it will pass before
the [Knesset] recess,” which begins on August 7.
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Coalition chairman Ze’ev
Elkin (Likud) said that “for over two-and-a-half years, we’ve been telling the
opposition that some things are more important than politics.
people propose noconfidence votes on housing, and some people come up with
solutions,” Elkin said.
During Kadima’s faction meeting on Monday, party
chairwoman Tzipi Livni said “the tent protest is one of the most significant
social processes taking place today.
“The citizens who are rising up are
part of the groups in society, such as the middle-class and students, who carry
the burden of disproportionate taxation,” she said.
“The problem isn’t
only in Tel Aviv – taking care of bureaucracy is the right thing to do, but in
some places there are enough homes, mostly in the Galilee and the Negev, but
young people are still unable to rent or buy homes.”
Housing Minister Ariel Attias (Shas) said that “for the first time in the past
decade, this year the number of housing projects will surpass the demand. This
will cut the ongoing shortage.”
Of the 6,900 housing units that will be
built in 38 communities, 336 will be built in the West Bank. More than 1,000
will be constructed in the North, in Tiberias, Afula, Kiryat Shmona, Beit She’an
and Nahariya, and homes will be built in the southern cities of Arad, Dimona, Mitzpe
Ramon and Ashkelon. In addition, construction will take place in Rosh Ha’ayin,
Kfar Saba and Lod, in the Central region.
Contract bidding will begin in
60 days, with the contracts going to whoever offers the lowest sale price per
Earlier on Monday, representatives from the tent city in Tel Aviv
on Rothschild Boulevard who are protesting housing prices addressed a joint
meeting of the Knesset Economics and Interior Committee.
Stav Shafir, who
said she was “democratically elected” to represent the tent-dwellers, said that
while the housing issue is political, it crosses party lines.
us, the simple people living in tents, and you will find solutions,” she told
the 18 MKs present. “We are not economists or real estate experts, but we want
to talk to people with that knowledge and work together.”
chairman Carmel Shama- Hacohen (Likud) explained that the government’s housing
bill is “very general.”
“We want to make sure that some of the 100,000
new homes the law is supposed to allow will go to those who are most hurt by the
real-estate bubble,” he said. “You are out there, this is an issue in your
everyday life. Tell us what you need. Decisions will be made in these halls that
will make a difference.”
Soon thereafter, Shama-Hacohen dismissed MK Dov
Henin (Hadash) for speaking out of turn three times and demanding to know why
the bill does not include more accessible housing. Kadima MKs Yisrael Hasson and
Nino Abesadze, as well as MK Avishai Braverman (Labor) left the room in protest,
with Abesadze saying: “If no one can speak, what am I doing here?” MK Miri Regev
(Likud), who was booed and sprayed with water when she visited the Rothschild
Boulevard protest on Saturday night, said: “There are apartments in cheaper
places. What do you want, a home on Fifth Avenue?” Shafir responded that prices
are high all over the country. “To call us spoiled is just disrespectful,” she
MK Robert Tibayev (Kadima) told Shafir: “I don’t have what to say
to you. What can I say, move to the periphery? There aren’t any apartments
“All the young people from the periphery move to the
center, because they don’t have any homes or culture or jobs there.
isn’t anything to do in the periphery,” he said.
“I hope Rothschild
Boulevard will turn into the Tahrir Square of this government,” Tibayev
declared. • TENT Continued from Page 1 barely able to cover the high cost of
living in the Tel Aviv area.
“I live on a moshav next to Kiryat Gat, and
take the train back and forth for over an hour and a half in each direction
because I can’t find a way a way to pay NIS 3,000 in rent and NIS 3,000 in
tuition each month,” Itai Ifrach said. “I can’t picture myself moving to Ramat
Gan, or anywhere nearby. I would love to live in Ramat Gan, though.”
the epicenter of the protest on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard on Monday
evening, a circus atmosphere had taken hold.
In the first days after the
protest was launched by Tel Avivian Daphni Leef on Facebook last week, the tents
covered a single block of the pedestrian walkway. By Monday evening, the tents
had swelled in number and dotted a second block of the walkway, now reaching
from Habima Square to Rehov Sheinkin. Like every day since Friday, a very large
media contingent kept the spotlight on the demonstration.
A profusion of
interest groups had swooped onto the boulevard over the preceding 12 hours,
while the infrastructure of the tent city had expanded, now including a compost
heap, and a stand where three 20-somethings sold beer and handed out anarchist
Nearly a dozen activists from the Im Tirtzu movement strolled
through the crowd handing out Israeli flags and chatting with protesters; and at
around 7 p.m., a group of anti-African-migrant demonstrators marched through the
tent city with placards blaming the housing shortage on African
While the protest seemed on the verge of losing any
semblance of advancing a unified message, it was clear that it had become a
phenomenon far beyond what it had been only four days before.
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