Netanyahu. 'There just aren't enough apartments'
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the ongoing tent protest against the housing crisis for the first time Sunday and said that he was aware of the crisis.
"The government is doing things to fix the disease which has been hounding us for many years. We are a small country, demand is high and there just aren't enough apartments," said Netanyahu.
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Netanyahu also called on the protestors who erected tents in Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard and who intend on spreading their protest to the periphery to "come to the Knesset and help me pass the historical Israel Land Administration reform tomorrow, only with its help will we be able to market apartments", Netanyahu noted.
He explained that the problem stems from "two crazy bureaucracies – it takes five years to plan an apartment and additional time to market them. We are attacking both problems as we speak." Netanyahu addressed an additional law which, he believes, will bring about a solution to the crisis.
'Competition, competition, competition'"We have 13 days to pass the bill that will allow us to bypass planning bureaucracy. Within two weeks we will pass the historic laws which will be the only way to solve the housing shortage."
Netanyahu made it clear that even these laws won't lead to an immediate solution to the housing crisis: "It will take between a year and three years till we see results and till we will be able to infuse the market with tens of thousands of apartments. That is the only thing that will solve the crisis."
Netanyahu also addressed the dairy products price hike protest: "There are many protests over the high price of dairy products and the prices are indeed high, today we will launch deliberations which will be followed by additional deliberations in order to bring about a thorough dairy and food market reform.
"I am guided by three main principles – competition, competition, competition. Only competition will bring down consumer prices and provide a solution."
Meanwhile, protestors at the encampment were outraged by Housing Minister Ariel Atias's statements: "We were stunned to hear him speak of 'those people' he of all people should be sensitive to racism and incitement.
"There is nothing worse than a government who instead of caring for the younger generation and the nation is busy creating factions and divisions and incitement. If the minister didn't realize, there's a housing crisis throughout the country, people after military service don't see hopes for a future."
Boaz Fyler contributed to the report
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