The solution to Israel's housing problem: Samaria

With 93% of Judea and Samaria unpopulated by either Jew or Arab, the potential exists to solve Israel's housing crisis.

Raphael Poch,

Mk Eli Cohen and Samaria Council Head Yossi Dagan
Mk Eli Cohen and Samaria Council Head Yossi Dagan
Samaria Counci Spokesperson's office

Many people have been trying to figure out how to solve the current housing crisis in Israel. The problem of high rent, old or worn down apartments, and landlords continually raising rent prices, has created a major problem in the Israeli real estate market.

Add the fact that in order to secure a mortgage a young couple generally needs to fork over 30% of the entire cost as a down payment, and then pay exorbitant interest fees, and it makes purchasing a house in the current market almost impossible. To make matters even worse, obtaining building permits within cities is equally a nightmare.  

A possible solution to this crisis exists, and that is building in Judea and Samaria.

MK Eli Cohen (Kulanu), who Chairs the Special Committee to Discuss the National Authority for Urban Renewal Bill as well as the Housing Lobby, took a tour of Samaria together with Samaria Council Head Yossi Dagan on Sunday and discussed the issue.

Dagan told Cohen that over 93% of the land in Samaria is unsettled, and is potentially usable for creating towns that can solve the housing crisis in Israel.

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Dagan explained more about the need for Israel to build in Samaria.

“For more than 20 years there have always been issues in terms of building from a political standpoint; if we take out those issues, the bottom line is that we are hurting ourselves from a security standpoint, from a financial standpoint and from a Zionist standpoint.”

“Each house that we build in Samaria is one less house strangling the overcrowded central region of the country,” Dagan said. “We don’t have empty houses here. They get snatched up, just like the ones in the center. However we have more space and more availability, and that makes prices cheaper and more affordable for Israelis who want to buy a house.”

"Do what is right for Israel"

The potential cash flow income for the country could be tremendous if new low cost housing was allowed to be built in an area such as Samaria, with easy access to the workplaces of the central region of the country. However the political situation being what it is prevents such a logical move from taking place under most governments, but Dagan says Israel simply needs to do what is best for the state.  

“We need to do what is right for the country. From a security standpoint, from a Zionist standpoint and from a financial standpoint.”

With regards to foreign entities not agreeing with such a position, Dagan said the following: “most of the strategic moves that Israel has done in the past, the dramatic ones such as bombing the Iraqi and Syrian nuclear sites, conquering Jerusalem and settling it, have all been done against the wishes and instructions of the international community. This issue is on the same level as those, in that Israel’s future, social as well as financial depends upon us building in Samaria.”

In Judea and Samaria there are six-million dunams of land, of which only 7% is populated either by Jews or Arabs.

“There is a potential here to answer the housing needs of millions of people,” said Dagan.”Today we are able to add between eight and ten percent to our current population each year in Samaria, and that is with the Government hindering us due to foreign interests. If the government allowed us to progress unhindered or even helped a little in the building projects, we could easily reach an increase of twenty to thirty percent each year. This would be a massive answer to the housing crisis that currently faces Israel.”

MK Cohen told the press that “part of the answer to the housing crisis, is simply to come and build. That is what we are doing in the central region as well as in the periphery of the country, and it is also what we are doing in Judea and Samaria."

"We have a lot of potential here to ease the financial burden and lower the cost of housing. This is a very important potential that needs to be realized. If we are talking about lowering the cost of housing by twenty to thirty percent, then there is certainly a lot of very inexpensive and attractive solutions that are possible here. With regard to quality of life, some of these options are even better than the ones that exist in the center of the country.”

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