MK Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism) accused the media on Monday of turning the Israeli public against the ultra-Orthodox sector by publishing "anti-Semitic talkbacks and incitement."
Speaking before the Knesset plenum, Eichler likened the media's conduct to that of the Weimar Republic, referring to the early Nazi regime in Germany.
The remarks were made during a sparsely attended Knesset session discussing a series nonconfidence votes, brought forth by the Kadima, Labor, Meretz, Balad, Hadash and United Arab List-Ta'al factions. The criticism was primarily directed at Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias' proposed criteria for affordable housing eligibility, which some politicians claim favors the haredi sector.
Minister Atias (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Earlier Monday, the Israel Land administration unanimously approved the proposed regulations, which grant priority housing to those who have served in the army but do not favor households where both partners work.
The parties blasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government for "violating the middle class' basic right for … affordable housing."
'Shas cares for the weak'
The housing and construction minister deflected the criticism Monday, blaming his predecessors for failing to reform the eligibility criteria.
"We fought to reduce the price of land by 50%," Atias argued. "We fought for the young couples. We aspired to make sure that the criteria benefit the widest cross-section of the Israeli population."
Atias stressed that his party, Shas, does not represent any particular sector. "Shas is the only party that cares for the weak," he said.
Atias also denied the claims that the new affordable housing standard favors haredi families because it prioritizes couples who have been married for years over newlyweds.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai addressed in his speech the housing shortage within the Arab sector, saying that the State must begin to "build upwards" to solve the problem.
"I don't see it as a cultural issue," Yishai said during the session. "Tall buildings are present across the Arab sector. When there is no space and the population grows, building upwards is necessary."
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