Dozens of homeless families have been living in a public park in downtown Jerusalem since early June, and say they will not move until the Housing Ministry finds housing for each and every one of them. The protestors, most of them traditionally religious Jews of Sephardic origin, are all qualified for public housing, but have not been accommodated because of the public housing shortage.
Housing Ministry officials explained that the ministry has a policy of giving rent vouchers to families instead of building new housing units as Israel’s population rises. However, many of the families say the vouchers are insufficient and cover less than half the cost of renting an apartment.
Some of the protestors expressed optimism after a meeting with the Knesset’s Economic Affairs Committee earlier in the week. Committee Chairman Gilad Erdan said he would help them, one woman explained, and told the families he would try to find a temporary housing solution for them before the holiday of Rosh Hashanah begins in two weeks.