Construction and Housing Minister Ze'ev Elkin (New Hope) attended the conference of the Association of Municipal Corporations in Eilat on Tuesday, and said that to date more than one hundred thousand people have registered for discounted tickets to Israel's apartment lottery.
"This is twice as many registrants than there were for the largest lottery that has ever taken place in the country. We did not expect more than 50,000 families to join the lottery. We will postpone the lottery until after Pesach."
On the plan to lower housing costs, Elkin said: “Prices are psychology and market reactions to what was before. Prices today are based on what was marketed a year and two years ago. In 2021 there were twice as many apartments as there were a year earlier."
"If I have to choose who to help with the price of an apartment, I want first of all to help a young couple move into their first apartment. I'm not interested in those looking to buy additional apartments just as an investment."
On the abolition of the practice of setting rent prices per occupant, Elkin said: "The state is the one that benefits most from such a shortage. That is not how a free market is supposed to run."
Regarding the refugees from Ukraine and the disputes with Minister Ayelet Shaked, Elkin said: "I do not think like her. If we were under a missile attack here, we would not like to hear that Europe has suddenly decided to ban Jews from entering. We have discussed the matter, and have reached an agreement under which anyone may enter as long as they have a sponsoring family ready to accept them."
On Prime Minister Bennett's rile as a mediator in the talks between Russia and Ukraine, Elkin argued that "we must not exaggerate what we in Israel can do in this war as mediators. Many Western countries have approached us to mediate in this war, including the United States. We must not get too excited and think that we can help solve all the issues in the world. "
Elkin added: "We are in constant contact with the Russians and the Ukrainians and all our allies in the West. We very much hope that this war will end and the damage already done will be saved."
Regarding the recent terrorist attacks, Elkin said that they "symbolize the extremism of the small minority who are raising their heads in Arab society in Israel. We must fight ISIS with all our might. It is a very radical brand of Islam and very drastic measures are needed to prevent it. "
Regarding his partners in the government, Elkin mentioned that Mansour Abbas condemned these attacks. "Netanyahu is the last one who should be preaching morality to us. We are fighting terrorism without political considerations."
Regarding the Judea and Samaria Council's campaign against the government due to the construction freeze, Elkin said, “We are building, and we must build more. I received a green light from the prime minister within 5 minutes for 100% of the building plans we sent for approval. I would only get 50% from Netanyahu."