Is there a quiet construction freeze in Jerusalem?

Only 171 housing units built in capital since the beginning of the year. Has the quiet freeze of the Obama years continued?

Shimon Cohen ,

concerning data
concerning data
Lech Yerushayalim

As Israel prepares to celebrate Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim), Arutz Sheva spoke with Maor Tzemach of Lech Yerushalayim about the rate of construction in the capital and the possibility that there is a hidden construction freeze in Jerusalem.

"During Obama's time, there was a construction freeze in some neighborhoods of Jerusalem, [outside] the so-called 1967 lines, in Ramat Shlomo, Har Homa, Pisgat Ze'ev, etc. There was a real freeze then, with [just] 500 housing units constructed over five years. Last weekend there was a request that the planning and construction committees cease to plan for the future of these neighborhoods, and so we have reached the point of a complete freeze in these Jerusalem neighborhoods," Tzemach said.

Recent data does not bode well for future construction in Jerusalem, he added. "Just 171 housing units have been marketed since the beginning of 2017. This is an intolerable reality, an anti-Jewish and anti-political reality. Jerusalem is above the differences between the right and the left, and part of the economic power of Jerusalem is housing solutions for young couples."

He said that young couples find themselves unable to purchase or rent apartments in the capital and are forced to move elsewhere, creating a negative migration balance. The data shows that in the last year 18,000 residents left the city and only 10,000 have moved into Jerusalem, a net loss of 8,000 residents.

Tzemach called the gap "intolerable."

"These are young couples who are getting married and are looking for cheap housing in other areas. They are the youth who are the engine of the economic growth that Jerusalem is losing. Cheap and affordable housing is what will keep the young people who are the future of Jerusalem.

"At the end of the day, Jerusalem is within the national consensus," he said. "It is obvious that there are solutions. On the eve of the last elections, Netanyahu spoke about construction in E-1. But no construction has happened there. Somebody is stopping it and stopped the new neighborhood planned in Givat Hamatos. We should build 5,000 housing units. It is clear that there is a policy to freeze [construction], and it is impossible to understand," given the right-wing composition of the current government, he said.