In Monday's meeting of the Knesset Finance Committee, chairman MK Moshe Gafni revealed the amount of tax paid by developers to the Israel Land Authority (ILA) and demanded that changes be made, in order to address the ongoing housing crisis.
A representative of the ILA was invited to present data at the committee meeting, and revealed that in a certain residential housing project in the coastal city of Netanya, the ILA imposed a tax of 17,000 per meter. As such, a 100-meter-square apartment would have 1.7 million shekels of tax payable.
"This is an absolute disgrace," Gafni responded. "We're not going to let this pass in silence."
Also present at the meeting was former minister in the Finance Ministry MK Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beytenu), who said that, "We have to shut the ILA down. This has been my position for the past 14 years, and I hope that this government will take responsibility to see that this happens.
"I hear everyone attacking the ILA," he added, "but who is responsible for what goes on there? The Israeli government. Who appoints the head of the ILA? Who appoints its board members? The government of Israel."
According to Amar, "If the government makes the decision to dismantle the ILA, it can do it. But the opposite can also occur. How can young people afford to buy a home here, with such exorbitant land prices? If the government doesn't do something about it, prices will only continue to climb."
"The very first piece of legislation that I present next week on behalf of the United Torah Judaism party will be one that fixes the interest rate on mortgages for first-time buyers," added Gafni. "I expect Knesset members from all parties to support this important measure. This is absolutely crucial in order to address the crisis."