Daily Israel Report

Turning Scandal into Blessing

Halt is ordered to further luxury construction in the scandal-ridden Holyland project; residents want cheap housing there for young couples.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 5/9/2010, 1:09 PM / Last Update: 5/9/2010, 1:29 PM

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Following last week’s decision by Jerusalem municipal legal counsel Yossi Havilio to stop further construction at the Holyland luxury construction project, some residents say they have a different idea for the site.

“The government doesn’t understand the importance of housing solutions for young couples in Jerusalem,” city councilman Ofer Berkovich told Arutz-7. He is one of the forces behind a new initiative to build affordable housing at the Holyland project site, instead of more luxury apartments of the kind that have already been erected there.

“We must turn this symbol of corruption into a symbol of corrective action,” Berkovich said.

In light of the grave suspicions and apparently large amount of evidence of widespread corruption that paved the way for the construction of the project, Havilio ordered the halt in order to allow time for more details to emerge. Three to five large buildings are or were still scheduled to be built there.

“We want to advance affordable housing solutions for the young in this city,” Berkovich said. “This is a Zionist goal of the first order, in terms of shaping the character of Jerusalem for the future.”

Statistics have shown that young families cannot afford housing in Jerusalem and that there is a dire shortage of housing suitable for them. It is feared that this can, cause the ratio of Jews to Arabs in the city to change in the latter's favor, as there is no attempt to freeze Arab building in the city.