Tent protest at Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard
Photo: Ofer Amram
Economics Committee Chairman MK Carmel Shama
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Likud MK: Either prices fall or government

Delegation of lawmakers visits activists protesting housing prices at tent city on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Blvd. Hadash MK Khenin: State must intervene to protect young people

A delegation of Knesset members arrived Sunday at the protest tent city at Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard to speak with activists fighting against the rising housing prices.


Economics Committee Chairman MK Carmel Shama (Likud), MK Dov Khenin (Hadash), MK Nino Abesadze (Kadima) and MK Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich arrived at the encampment in a relatively quite fashion.



MK Carmel Shama said, "The best way is flooding the market with apartments, and in two weeks the Knesset will complete the legislation. That means that both contractors and homeowners will realize that the market is flooded with properties and that will be reflected in a drop in prices."


According to Shama, "If prices don't go down – the government will. One of the two must go down. Housing prices or the government. An answer is needed and it must be immediate and set for the long term."


MK Khenin criticized those who call young people to stay away from the Dan agglomeration. "Were are the apartments for young couples in Modiin? Were are the apartments for rent in Modiin? In Ramat Gan? This is a serious crisis. The prices are not cheaper there either," he remarked.


Khenin added that plans to build over 160,000 apartments have been approved, but no construction has begun nor marketing campaigns. "

MKs visit protest tent in Tel Aviv (Photo: Ofer Amram) 


"Contractors are just waiting for prices to go up. The free market isn't working, the State of Israel must intervene to protect the young people more than the rich," said Khenin. According to him, there are many empty apartments in Rothschild Boulevard, which hinders any solution to the housing shortage.


Khenin demanded to stop building "towards for millionaires" in Tel Aviv and begin building small and inexpensive apartments. He also called to enforce rent control and establish a emergency headqourters to handle the issue.


"I've heard some unbelievable stories here," he said. "There are people who found themselves without a home and we need to figure out solutions for them now. It's possible."


Shamalov-Berkovich added: "No one can say there's no money - there's no compassion, nobody cares. Nobody is doing anything."


"Israel must begin to build one room apartments, two rooms, and entirely cancel taxes on first apartments," she concluded.


Small country, high demand

Earlier Sunday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the ongoing tent protest against the housing crisis for the first time 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.


Netanyahu also called on the protestors 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.


"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."


Meanwhile the Knesset's Finance Committee meeting to discuss the housing shortage has been canceled and has yet to be rescheduled. Committee chairman Moshe Gafni explained that the ministers were unable to attend the meeting scheduled for Monday due to a "deliberation already set with the prime minster."


Boaz Fyler contributed to the report



פרסום ראשון: 07.17.11, 14:40
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