Court: Gov't must respond to haredi claims of discrimination

Haredi parties claim discrimination in subsidized housing, Supreme Court orders government to respond by Thursday.

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Michal Levy,

Jewish construction
Jewish construction
Flash 90

The Supreme Court on Sunday ordered the Finance and Housing Ministries to respond by Thursday to the haredi parties' complaint that the Mechir Lemishtaken (Buyer's Price) plans discriminate against haredim.

Last week, the haredi parties appealed to the Supreme Court to issue a conditional order insisting the Finance and Housing ministers explain why they did not open the second round to haredim who signed up but did not receive an apartment during the first round.

On September 3, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) announced a new lottery for 12,000 housing units. Participants in the new lottery - to be drawn on Thursday - would include those who had signed up for the previous lottery but not granted apartments. However, the second round did not include any distinctly haredi cities - though haredim do live in several of the cities named.

In the appeal, which was published in the haredi Hamodia newspaper, the attorney wrote that the issue was severe discrimination against the haredi population, with those who were eligible for the program barely managing to enter the lottery.

"The rule of law and equality between citizens is an integral part of a democratic government, and even more so when we are discussing the government's decision to give free land to the public" the appeal states. "It seems that the land is given out according to which political party you support, and preference is being given to those who are likely to vote for the Finance Minister's Kulanu faction."

Mechir Lemishtaken is a program which developers compete for the lowest price per square meter for an apartment, built on government land. Those who would like to buy the apartments can sign up online or at the relevant office. If applicants fit the program's criteria, which includes not having owned a home for the past six years, they are added to the waiting list. Beneficiaries are selected by lottery, and are given the opportunity to purchase an apartment in their area at a significantly reduced price.