MK Jamal Zahalka
MK Jamal Zahalka Flash 90

The government took another step toward solving the housing crisis on Sunday, as Minister of the Interior Eli Yishai signed off on a building plan for the city of Harish that will include 8,800 new housing units, which are to be marketed to young couples in the hareidi-religious community. Construction on some housing units will begin within weeks.

The plan also includes space for businesses, public buildings and schools.

One Member of Knesset was not pleased with the new plan. MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) accused the government of “widening the city of Harish and suffocating Arab towns in Wadi Ara.” The government should be seeking housing solutions for young Arab families, he said.

Zahalka called on hareidi-religious Jews not to move to the area, and to leave the region open to Arab expansion instead.

The Harish building project previously faced a lawsuit from two far-left lawyers arguing, like Zahalka, that space in Harish should be turned over to neighboring Arab towns for their own expansion, rather than used for hareidi Jews.

Zahalka is one of several MKs from Arab parties to take a strong anti-Israel stance on many issues. He has previously advised the PA on how to take advantage of Israel, has called to force Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem, and has threatened Arabs who volunteer for national service in Israel.

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