US, Israel launch talks on affordable housing development

Jerusalem and Washington representatives have convened to discuss how to increase "the availability of affordable housing" for Americans and Israelis alike.

Israel and US flags (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Israel and US flags
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
WASHINGTON – Dozens of Israeli and Americans officials convened this week to discuss closer economic cooperation between the two nations, continuing a decades-long tradition of annual development talks.
The two sides this year focused on housing and urban development. They agreed to open negotiations toward a formal Memorandum of Understanding “aimed at increasing the availability of affordable housing,” the State Department said of Monday’s event.
The MoU would secure cooperation on US and Israeli efforts to increase housing supply, affordable long-term rental policies, and urban revitalization in their respective countries, according to the statement.
Among those participating this year were Finance Ministry director-general Shai Babad and Governor of the Bank of Israel Karnit Flug.
Flug and Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer, as well as officials from the ministries of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Justice and Construction, the Economy Ministry’s Israel Innovation Authority (previously known as the Office of the Chief Scientist), “Dira Lehaskir” (“Apartment for Rent”) and the Israel Lands Authority.
“The two countries also agreed to create a joint task force to exchange good regulatory practices for improved business and investment environments in both countries,” the State Department continued.
Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs David Malpass underscored his appreciation for the US-Israel Joint Economic Development Group and the opportunity it provides “to expand cooperation and help accelerate the growth in both our economies.”