Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has proposed a new program of large-scale construction – though not in Judea/Samaria – to alleviate the ongoing housing crisis. “We need a supertanker to deal with this problem,” he said last week.
The crisis can be summed up as, "low supply, high demand, unaffordable prices."
Netanyahu will present his plan to the Cabinet at its next weekly session, this Sunday.
The program, based largely on removing bureaucratic entanglements from new housing projects, includes these elements: Six new committees will be established for granting fast treatment to new projects; all projects will be coordinated in the Housing Ministry to this end; preferential treatment for government initiatives for new projects of over 200 units; 5,000 new low-price apartments for sale and rental.
Netanyahu has instructed Housing Minister Ariel Attias to make a list, within 14 days, of 50 state housing projects, most of them on lands currently managed by the IDF or on unused agricultural lands. He has also charged Attias with preparing a plan, also within two weeks, for the construction of 5,000 low-cost units before the end of 2011.
Katz: Neither Super nor Tanker
The new program has come in for its share of criticism. MK Yaakov Katz (National Union), a former top Housing Ministry official who has long called for massive construction, said, “Bibi is not super, and his plan is not a tanker. Without massive government construction of 100,000 units, the problem will not be solved.” Other opposition MKs also voiced criticism of Netanyahu’s plan.