Ukrainian refugees face Israel’s housing crisis

Grappling with a red-hot housing market and with land being at a premium, Israel expects to take up to 50,000 immigrants who may struggle to find a place to live

Thousands of Ukrainians are fleeing Russia’s invasion and seeking refuge in Israel, which is already facing a red-hot housing crisis that could make it difficult for refugees to find a place to live.
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  • Europe is in the midst of its largest refugee crisis since World War II, and since the war began in February, over 6,000 Ukrainians formally immigrated to Israel, exercising the Jewish state’s Law of Return, which allows Jews, their immediate family, and grandchildren attain citizenship.
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    פליטים אוקראינים במולדובה, לפני טיסה לישראל
    פליטים אוקראינים במולדובה, לפני טיסה לישראל
    Ukrainian refugees waiting at a refugee shelter in Chisinau, Moldova before boarding a plane to Israel
    (Photo: AFP)
    “The only thing I want is to go to Israel and go to sleep. Have my silence, no news, just go to sleep,” Jenya Topolnitski, a 36-year-old Ukrainian refugee, told i24NEWS.
    According to Israel’s Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, up to 50,000 immigrants are expected to arrive in Israel by July.
    However, Israel is ranked as one of the most expensive countries in the world, and one of its biggest culprits is housing.
    In the past decade, housing prices rose by 160 percent, and rents spiked by 50 percent during the COVID pandemic alone, leading many to wonder where the flood of refugees into Israel will end up.
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    נדל"ן אילוסטרציה
    נדל"ן אילוסטרציה
    (Photo: Billy Frankel)
    Real estate firms in Israel, for example, are calling on the government to intervene and ensure that those planning to stay can afford to do so.
    The problem, according to i24NEWS correspondent Ariel Levin-Waldman, is a matter of scale, with Israel facing a housing crisis and land being at a premium.
    “There’s very little land, a constant increase in the population, and the Aliyah factor — people immigrating to Israel,” real estate market analyst Roy Kenner explained to i24NEWS.
    “We have a lot of people wanting to live here.”

    Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.
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