All eyes on State Comptroller Yosef Shapira ahead of housing report.
Photo: Haim Zach, GPO
Tension has begun to arise in the political system as anticipation grows ahead of a report set to be released tomorrow by State Comptroller Yosef Shapira's report on the housing crisis.
MKs in the Likud party have begun to personally attack Shapira and claim that the public should only receive the information contained in the report after the March elections. Meanwhile, the Likud members have tried to also place blame with Yair Lapid, who served as the finance minister for the last two years.
On the other hand, members of the Lapid's Yesh Atid party reviewed the report on Tuesday and said that it deals mostly with the years 2008 up until 2013, and details the failures and blockades that led to the steep rise in housing prices in Israel.
"There are no escape routes for the Likud in this report," said sources within the Yesh Atid party. "Without going into the details of the report, only on paragraph refers to Lapid and several things are said praising him. The Likud's attempts to blur their failure in the housing sector will not be useful."
Lapid also took to his Facebook page to discuss the issue and wrote in a post: "I recommend that all of Israel's citizens read the important and in-depth report by the state comptroller carefully. Everything we've said in the past year is in that report in black and white.
"Now it is no longer a claim by one party against the other, it is an official report by the state comptroller that backs all of our claims – the housing crisis in Israel is a direct result of neglect by Netanyahu and the Likud party. Years of procrastination, inaction, barriers and corruption led to the housing prices to rise outrageously."
One man who has directly attacked Lapid in the past days is Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who said this week: "Let's tell the truth: You (Lapid) caused tremendous damage to the housing market in the past two years. And we fixed it and will continue to fix it."
Bennett claimed that the main reason for the rise in housing prices lies in the demand for housing which grew because of Lapid's 0% VAT plan.
Chairman of the Kulanu party Moshe Kahlon visited Ynet's news studio this week and said that a housing crisis must be declared. "We have reached a situation where in order to buy an apartment you need 150 monthly pay checks. Six or seven years ago, it was 80-100 monthly salaries. In order to stop this bleeding, emergency laws are needed for a couple of years to lead to a shortening process.
"A strong treatment in supply with enable the rise (in price) to stop. I expect the leaders to declare an emergency situation, along with (admit) that they failed in recent years. The difference can be felt within a year."
The state comptroller's report is supposed to detail the causes and procedures that led to the housing crisis, but the Likud faction think that the public should only find out what is in the report after the upcoming elections.
On Monday, Likud MK Miri Regev turned to the attorney general with a request to delay the publication of the report – her request was not granted.
"The report is important but its timing is not right," said Regev. "The moment its published during a time like this it loses its authenticity and looks like a political tool that was meant to taunt the prime minister. Instead of taking care of the matter itself, a political scent is rising from it. And regarding the essence: the housing problem is known to all and we were not in need of the report by the state comptroller in order to know about the problems. We worked in the past two years to find a solution to the crisis and will continue to work. Housing prices began to fall because the processes already began. We did not wait for a report for that."