With Prime Minister Netanyahu’s participation, the Knesset recently held a special session on Israel’s housing crisis.
In my speech, I presented a special report that proves that if the current construction and natural growth trends continue, the land reserved for construction in Israel’s pre-1967 borders will be completely depleted in less than two decades.
Here are two little-known facts:
1) Every year, demand for new construction equals the size of the city of Ramat Gan.
2) Over the past seven years, the National Master Plan’s population growth forecast underestimated Israel’s population growth by no less than 700,000 people. In other words, we have a population the size of one and a half Tel Avivs that nobody dreamed of less than a decade ago. This trend, thank God, continues.
We can summarize the housing problem with one simple question:
Is Israel the people’s land, or does it belong to the state?
In a state that enjoys true liberty, the answer is clear: most of its land is privately owned. But in Israel, the opposite is true. This is what brings about the Israel Land Authority’s mediation, the mad taxation, and the impossible heavy-handedness in the authorization and licensing process – all factors that drive the price of housing sky high.
The solution is to enter a process of land privatization and the land’s return to its natural owners: the general public. The Land of Israel for the nation of Israel – just as the Torah of Israel, which demands our liberty, directs.
When we ask whose land this is, we touch upon national ownership. Actually, as reflected in the Special Report, even if we solve all the aforementioned problems, we will have an overflow population in 15 years if current trends continue.
The real solution, and apparently the only intrinsic solution, is to understand that the Land of Israel belongs to the nation of Israel – both on a private and national basis. The Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel before it belongs to the state of Israel. It belongs to the nation of Israel – and no other nation.
The only viable solution is to build modern, metropolitan housing on the western slopes of the Judea, Benjamin and Samaria regions. These areas are a short commute from Israel’s commerce and industry hub.
Thus we have two choices: either we understand that the entire land is ours and we build many more Modiins on the slopes of western Samaria – just one half hour from Israel’s large cities – or we build in the sea.
About the Author: Moshe Feiglin is the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and a member of Israel's Security and Defense Committee. He heads the Manhigut Yehudit ("Jewish Leadership") faction of Israel's governing Likud party. He is the founder of Manhigut Yehudit and Zo Artzeinu and the author of two books: "Where There Are No Men" and "War of Dreams." Feiglin served in the IDF as an officer in Combat Engineering and is a veteran of the Lebanon War. He lives in Ginot Shomron with his family.
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