HousingIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The price of housing has risen by 100% in just seven years, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is deliberately allowing the situation to continue, housing activist Eran Rolls has accused.

In a Facebook post written Monday, Rolls explained why he blames Netanyahu for the hopeless situation facing many would-be homeowners.

“Nobody can accuse me of being a leftist or wanting to attack a ‘right-wing’ government,” wrote Rolls. “The facts don’t lie. Since 2005 when Netayahu was appointed Finance Minister, the prices went up by 100%.”

Netanyahu left the Sharon government in 2005, and was not part of the Olmert administration. He rejoined the government as Prime Minister in December 2009.

Rolls accused Netanyahu of having engineered the current system of housing tax, “to extort money from citizens through the home buying process.”

Rolls explained his criticism of Netanyahu in an interview Tuesday with Arutz Sheva. “Salaries haven’t gone up [with housing prices], and people buying homes are forced to take on huge debt in the form of a mortgage… There’s no money left to live off of.”

Government policy drives high prices, he continued. “More than 50% of what the public pays construction firms goes directly to the state – through payments for land, VAT, purchasing tax, tax on foreign workers, and more,” he explained.

Only 40,000 new homes are built per year, while there is demand for 60,000 housing units per year, he added.

The government is interested in keeping housing prices high, because high housing prices mean high tax income, he accused. “That’s how they fund all the things that the state is unfortunately not dealing with, like the powerful unions,” he argued.

“Ultimately the government is responsible for ensuring its citizens have a place to live. I think all of the bureaucracy serves the Finance Ministry,” he concluded.