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      Journalist Blames Hareidim, Settlers for Housing Crisis

      Economica commentator Nehemia Strassler says hareidim and Judea and Samaria resident are to blame for the housing crisis.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 8/1/2011, 7:48 AM

      Nehemia Strassler
      Nehemia Strassler
      Yoni Kempinski

      Left-wing economics commentator Nehemia Strassler on Sunday blamed the hareidi sector for the current housing crisis in Israel.

      In an appearance on Channel 2 News, Strassler said that the budgets invested in the hareidim should be cut since, as he claimed, they receive almost free education and housing with excellent conditions.

      Strassler did not stop with the hareidim, and also called on the government to “close the tap” on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. These communities, he claimed, take up a substantial share of the budget and all at the expense of the middle class.

      He noted that the obvious move that the government should take is to cut the resources invested in Judea and Samaria and move them for the rehabilitation of the middle class.

      Strassler is known for his statements against residents of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. In 2009 he criticized the expellees from Gush Katif, claiming in article in the leftist newspaper Haaretz that they are interested in perpetuating their expulsion to exploit the country and its government.

      “The Gush Katif evacuees have succeeded in mocking us yet again,” he wrote. “The evacuation of Gush Katif was humanistic, considerate, broad-minded, and generous… They won’t allow the matter to drop off the public agenda. The settlers and the enemies of peace will never allow this sore to heal. They are using the Gush Katif evacuees as a political lever to turn the Disengagement into such a great and expensive trauma that no Prime Minister will ever again be willing to take a chance on doing the same in the West Bank. And if there is no evacuation, there will be no retreat and no peace – and that is, after all, their supreme goal.” The High Court ruled that the original government proposal for compensating the expulsion vicitms was so low that it violated the Basic Law that protects"human dignity."

      Regardless of his opinions, Strassler was recently one of the winners of Israel’s Media Watch annual Abramowitz Israeli Prize for Media Criticism.

      The judges wrote that the award was given to Strassler “for his contribution to economic journalism, both as a reporter and a commentator, and for his original writing in which he attacks and exposes without fear flaws in economic policy.”