Saturday, November 6, 2010

Solving the housing problem

Uri Elitzur, considered as one of the most articulate and talented writers in the settler camp who had been PM Netanyahu's Bureau Chief, recently spoke eloquently on the problem of steeply-rising housing prices in Israel.

"We can not solve the housing problem by financial tricks. Some 10,000 homes are lacking, so clearly the prices for existing housing will continue to rise. How did this happen? A partial but significant answer: the freeze on housing in Judea and Samaria. The pace of construction at communities in Judea and Samaria fell down by about 1500 per annum, and this has already begun in the time of Sharon and Olmert. 1500 families who would have been living in the West Bank are now looking for an apartment in Petah Tikva, Jerusalem or Holon. After five years, 7500 apartments are lacking, and prices across the country are going wild "(Makor Rishon, 29/10/2010).

Of course, it might have been possible to suggest solving the problem by having the government apply its construction budgets in Petah Tikva, Jerusalem and Holon. But one should not confuse Mr. Elitzur with simplistic solutions.