Netanyahu pledges to solve housing crisis

The prime minister will announce new measures on Tuesday to help couples, students, and the needy find homes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today promised to take rapid action to solve the housing crisis in the medium term. At the start of today's cabinet meeting, he said, "We will take a series of focused measures to help young couples, students, and the needy for 12-18 months, until the great jump in building comes into effect." He will apparently announce the measures on Tuesday.

Commenting on the tent protest, Netanyahu said, "The housing shortage is real. We not only identify with it, we identified with it years ago, and before I entered government, I sought to find a solution. Young couples in Israel lack the wherewithal to buy an apartment, because apartments are too expensive. They are too expensive because there aren’t enough apartments, which is because of the government monopoly, which owns over 90% of the country's land zoned for construction. Israel has the most convoluted planning commissions in the world and it takes more than five years to release an apartment for construction."

Netanyahu added, "It is necessary to simplify these mechanisms. It took us two years to make these two changes, and this week we're completing the reform in planning and building commissions and the Israel Land Administration. The government abolished the absurd ban for construction in the Dan Region (metropolitan Tel Aviv), various incentives have been created for contractors and buyers, and more will be created. We have linked up the periphery with highways, which has resulted in 48,000 new housing starts. This is almost 50% above the annual average of the past decade, but it's not enough. We'll pass the national housing commission bill and the Israel Land Administration reform bill so the supertanker can take off."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on July 24, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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