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      Obama Boomerang: Demand for Building Freeze Spurs Rush to Buy

      Obama’s attempt to freeze building for Jews appears to be backfiring as real estate agents report a boom in purchases.

      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 7/23/2009, 1:48 PM / Last Update: 7/23/2009, 2:07 PM

      Israel news photo

      U.S. President Barack Obama’s attempt to freeze building for Jews in Judea and Samaria appears to be backfiring as real estate agency report a boom in new home sales in Maaleh Adumim, located several minutes east of Jerusalem.

      The result is a further increase in the number of Jews living in Judea and Samaria, countering the intentions of the new American government.

      The price of a three-bedroom apartment in Maaleh Adumin was $215,000 before President Obama’s campaign against Israel. The price for the same unit now is $244,000.

      The city’s mayor Benny Kashriel said that all 450 apartment that are under construction, with previous government approval, are almost sold out. He vowed that Israel will not bow to American pressure against continued development. He told the American National Public Radio that “280,000 people in Judea and Samaria will be together against him, will demonstrate together and will not let our government compromise with him.”

      Maaleh Adumim resident and American native Beth Gordon, who has been discussing buying property for her children, laughed at President Obama’s description of the city as a settlement.

      “I ask people in the States, 'What do you think a settlement is?' And they say, 'I picture a caravan [mobile home without wheels] on a hill.' And I say, 'You have to come to Maaleh Adumim and visit us!' “she told NPR. Her desire for her children to live nearby is part of the “natural growth” that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has decried.

      The bottom line for most people is money. The cost of housing in Maaleh Adumim and other communities in Judea and Samaria is far less than in Jerusalem, where the housing market is way beyond the reach of the average Israeli.

      Real estate agent Ayalon Cohen told NPR the he is selling six to 10 units a month, comparable to the fastest-growing areas in Israel. "There's a lot of demand. A young couple that wants to buy in Jerusalem cannot afford to do so," Cohen says.