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      Efrat to Expand but 'Not Enough’

      The government has published tenders to build 40 more housing units in Efrat, whose mayor told Arutz Sheva it is lacking hundreds more.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 12/12/2011, 1:59 PM

      Efrat
      Efrat
      Flash 90

      The government has published tenders to build 40 more housing units in Efrat, whose mayor told Arutz Sheva it is lacking hundreds more.

      The new homes include 30 to be built by private owners and 10 townhouses to be built by contractors in the “Givat HaDagan” neighborhood.

      “It took the Housing Ministry nearly an entire year to complete the process for publicizing the tenders that previously were approved by Defense Minister Ehud Barak,” Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi said Monday morning.

      He also revealed that one of the reasons was that the Housing Ministry originally sent the approval back to Barak’s Defense Ministry was because it thought the number of residential units should be increased to 140 to make the project more attractive financially. However, Barak refused.

      Revivi also said that he anticipates new tenders for 240 units approved by the Defense Ministry four weeks ago, in Givat HaZayit.

      "Under the city plan, we still are lacking 460 housing units in the Dagan neighborhood,” Revivi said. “In addition, we are waiting for permits for 550 residential units on Givat Tamar [on the northern edge of Efrat and immediately south of Bethlehem], 70 units in the HaTe’ena neighborhood and 2,500 on Givat Eitam.”

      The cost of housing in Efrat, the largest community in Gush Etzion, has skyrocketed the past few years, raising rents to the levels of those in many areas in Jerusalem.

      Noting the change in the political climate that finally has thawed the de facto building freeze on Jewish homes, Revivi said, “I am happy that after 10 years, we have permits to build. We have to understand that while it is too little, it is better to have a bird in the hand than two in the bush.”