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Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu), Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu), and Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky signed an agreement Sunday for a new, wide-scale joint venture to develop housing solutions for thousands of Israel’s most vulnerable citizens.

The government and The Jewish Agency will jointly invest some NIS 1 billion ($257 million) in this initiative for the purpose of constructing 2,650 housing units for those who qualify for public housing according to the criteria set by the Ministry of Construction and Housing and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption.

The plan will serve to shorten the queue of those awaiting public housing and expand the offerings for those who qualify. The construction of the units will be carried out by Amigour, a non-profit Jewish Agency subsidiary that is Israel’s leading sheltered housing company and second-largest public housing group.

“From this government’s first day in office, we have been investing great resources and efforts in expanding public housing offerings, which have been gradually reduced in recent years," Kahlon said. "The agreement announced today constitutes a dramatic addition to public housing offerings in Israel."

"This addition will significantly ease the process of receiving public housing for those who qualify, and will shorten the existing queue," he continued. "This is an additional step toward equal opportunities and social justice within Israeli society.”

“For years we have become accustomed to a situation in which too many people have to go without, but this is not a divine sentence," Galant added. "We are concentrating great efforts in public housing, with the current plan focusing on Israel’s elderly population."

"The agreement signed today demonstrates that the solutions exist and are readily available, and that public housing is dependent not only on budgets but also on a societal outlook," he continued. "One of our moral yardsticks as a country is our sense of responsibility for the weak, and particularly the elderly – those who carried the burden in the past and who must be honored and cared for today."

"This is one more project amongst multiple comprehensive plans led by the Ministry of Construction and Housing in the realm of public housing, at an investment of more than NIS 1 billion, in order to acquire and renovate homes for needy populations throughout the country.”

Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky said, “This is a tremendously important project that demonstrates The Jewish Agency’s commitment to strengthening Israeli society and ensuring its wellbeing."

"Today that commitment takes on a solid foundation made of concrete and cement, and we look forward to implementing this plan as quickly as possible," he added. "Swiftly increasing housing solutions for those citizens eligible for public housing is a vital societal goal, and I am pleased that The Jewish Agency is able to lead this broad-reaching initiative in full partnership with the Government of Israel.”

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