Apartment in Tel Aviv 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Some 2,300 apartments out of the 63,500 the government has designated for public
housing are being rented to parties that are not eligible for public housing,
according to the latest State Comptroller’s Report, which came out on
The factors that determine eligibility for public housing –
which companies such as Amidar manage on behalf of the government – are a
person’s socioeconomic situation, physical condition and salary
However, according to data the report cited from the
Construction and Housing Ministry, about 2,500 people eligible for the
apartments – both families and individuals – remain on the waiting list for
placement. A large number of them have been waiting for over 10
The report revealed that those renting the 2,300 wrongly allocated
apartments are public institutions such as local authorities, education
institutions, ministries, NGOs, hospitals and urban kibbutzim. The apartments
often serve as housing for soldiers, students and teachers, among others, and
some even serve as synagogues.
In the report, the state comptroller
strongly emphasized the country’s legal duty to protect the rights of its
weakest populations and run a system guaranteeing housing to its citizens in
order to provide them with shelter and protection.
It is part of the
country’s duty to make sure its people live with the dignity to which they are
entitled as human beings, and public housing plays a central role in that, the
The state comptroller quoted the law that “a person who is
homeless is a person whose dignity is harmed, and a person who is forced to live
in humiliating material conditions is a person whose dignity is
“There is nothing poetic about living in poverty and distress,”
the comptroller wrote.
“Without minimal material conditions, a person
does not have the ability to create, aspire to something, make his own choices
or exercise his freedom.”
The comptroller’s inspection, conducted between
August 2011 and December 2012, found that 240 of the 2,300 apartments were
rented for private purposes, serving as offices and as housing for
local authority workers and employees at private companies. One of them is even
in use as a vacation home for Amidar employees.
In response to the
findings, the Construction and Housing Ministry said that “the state comptroller
is right in his criticism,” but added that the report was mostly based on the
allocation of apartments according to an old procedure, which was changed in
In addition, the ministry explained that the phenomenon of
renting public-housing apartments to public authorities had been going on for
over 60 years, as there were shortages in spaces for public
In fact, it said, many of the apartments in question had
initially been built for purposes other than public housing and been mistakenly
counted among those designated for people in need.
“About 1,000 out of
the 2,300 apartments that the comptroller mentions are not potential
public-housing apartments and were never included in the available number of
public- housing apartments,” the ministry wrote.
“They include 500
apartments which were built by the government in new neighborhoods for public
institutions in the first place, until 30 years ago,” the statement continued,
noting that “350 apartments are adjacent to hospitals and serve hospital staff,
and over 100 were built by the government in kibbutzim.”
To remedy the
problem, the ministry stated that it had ordered local authorities and
institutions renting apartments in high-demand areas to vacate them.
lower-demand areas, the authorities were asked either to purchase the apartments
or to pay a more appropriate rent for them.
“Local authorities that do
not comply with the instructions will be considered to be trespassing, and
therefore legal action will be taken against them,” the statement
“The ministry did and will continue to do what is necessary to
improve the issue and will work to reallocate those apartments for their
original purpose – serving people eligible for public housing.”
ministry also stated that it had already begun taking measures to solve the
problem a few years prior to the report.