Zionist Union lawmaker wins subsidized housing lottery

“I won, but what about all the other people who tried?” MK Biran asks, criticizing Kahlon’s flagship project.

Apartment blocks in Nof Zion. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Apartment blocks in Nof Zion.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
MK Michal Biran of the Zionist Union will be able to buy a home in Rosh Ha’ayin at a subsidized price, after winning the government’s “Big Lottery,” she said Sunday.
Last week, winners of the “Big Lottery” for over 14,000 homes around the country found out if they won, including Biran. MK Merav Ben-Ari, a 41-year-old single mother, however, did not, which Biran said she found ironic, since Ben-Ari is in Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party. A total of 42,000 people signed up for the “Big Lottery.”
Lawmakers make at least NIS 41,525 per month, before taxes, but Kahlon’s flagship Price Per Occupant, a subsidized housing program, does not have a specific salary cap. Biran falls into the eligibility category of single people over age 35 who have not owned a home in the last six years. Other eligibility standards include married couples or single parents of any age, who have not owned a home or rented one with “key money” in the past six years.
Although she makes far more than the average salary in the market, Biran said she did not think the criteria were too broad.
“The fact is that the millionaires in the Knesset didn’t try. Merav and I are young and single.
We were activists before, didn’t come in with money, and neither of us became a millionaire from being in the Knesset,” she said.
Biran also said in recent years, she spent close to NIS 120,000 on three Labor primary campaigns.
“I wouldn’t have another way to buy a home if not for programs like this. There’s no way I’d have the down payment,” she argued.
Despite her luck, Biran said she does not think the plan is ideal.
“I won, but what about all the people who didn’t?” she asked. “I don’t believe in lotteries.
I think the country needs to make sure there are enough homes built fast enough for everyone.
In the 1990s, they managed to do that for the immigrants from the USSR. The country needs to act broadly, and not in this method in which everyone hopes they’ll win,” but only a fraction do.
The real problem, Biran said, is that housing prices continue to rise.
“In my parents’ generation, a bus driver or a nurse could afford to buy a house and send a kid to university. If an MK can’t afford a house, what about people who make less? People who don’t have money from their parents can’t afford a home in Israel,” she said.
As for whether she plans to move to Rosh Ha’ayin soon, Biran said she’s not sure. Firstly, it could take years until her home is built as the contractor doesn’t have a construction permit yet. And secondly, she may rent it out, which project participants are allowed to do – though they cannot sell in the first five years.
“It depends on the traffic, and other factors,” she added.