According to Likud MK Yoav Galant, the main challenge facing the current government is its seeming inability to stop housing prices from continuing to spiral upward, leading young Israelis to leave the country in search of affordable solutions.
"I don't see any way that prices can come down," Galant told the Maariv newspaper, in an interview that will be published in full this Friday. "This government has failed to bring housing prices down. Young people are leaving the country not because of Hamas or Hezbollah, but because of the high housing prices, which constitute a strategic threat."
This week, the government published its new plans for construction, which Galant dismissed as irrelevant. "I admit that I haven't studied these plans in depth," he said, "but plans are not what are needed. The issue is very simple - it's available land that is in short supply. When the Likud party was in government, we implemented various agreements that were designed to ensure that an influx of residents to a town or city resulted in a higher standard of living for everyone, not the reverse. That, together with investment in infrastructure like roads, is the solution to this problem. This is what will cause mayors to seek out new residents rather than blocking them with all kinds of committees and regulations."
According to Galant, at the end of the day, the Israel Lands Authority is to blame for the housing crisis. "They do whatever they like and no one lifts a finger to stop them. When you have parcels of land worth half a million shekels being sold by the ILA for a million, then obviously contractors are going to add on another few percentage points to make a profit, which pushes prices up even more. Something has to be done about this monster that calls itself the ILA, to force it to accept lower profits than the billions they are used to making - and then, maybe, young couples will be able to afford apartments."
Galant was also asked whether he regretted his decision to vote against the Judea & Samaria regulations, and replied that he did not. "We have reached a situation where the damage being done by the continued existence of this government is greater than any harm caused by failing to pass one law or another," he explained. "That's why we have to do everything possible to bring this government down. My assessment is that the government will fall and an alternative coalition will be formed from within the current Knesset, under the leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu. I don't think we're going to be heading to new elections just yet."