Why won’t the bulldozers show up tomorrow?

A look at Israel's complicated permit process, and why today's partial approval doesn't translate into tomorrow's penthouse.

Givat Ze'ev construction 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Givat Ze'ev construction 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The approval process for all construction in Israel is a complicated procedure that takes at least three years to complete. For controversial projects, such as those over the Green Line, it can take a decade or more for a project to receive final approval to begin construction.
Here is an abbreviated look at the approval process:
• First the project is deposited with the municipality’s Local Planning and Construction Committee.
• If the Local Committee approves the project, it moves on to the District Planning and Construction Committee, which is part of the Interior Ministry. The District Committee discusses each project at least three times, and gives approval during each step of the way so the project can move on to the next meeting. The same project could make the news each time the District Committee gives an approval to move onto the next step.
• At this point there is also a 60-day period for the public to file objections and for the District Committee to examine the objections.
• Once the District Committee is satisfied the objections have been resolved, it issues its final approval and the project goes back to the Local Committee for the city’s approval of any changes.
• Then, the Israel Lands Authority will publish tenders for the project, to allow contractors to bid to build it.
• Finally, the project must receive a construction permit from the municipality before construction can begin.