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Some Thoughts On Israel’s Housing Crisis

            Who caused Israel’s housing shortage? The Left. That sounds demagogic, but here’s the reason why:


 

The State of Israel’s control of most of Israel’s land is the result of ideology. Since the Second Aliyah, the Zionist movement – followed by the State of Israel – has been motivated by leftist centrist ideology. This philosophy has helped create the greatest monopoly in Israel today, the monopoly of the Israel Land Authority over almost all of Israel’s land.

 

Ironically, the ideology that created the problem is the same one that is behind the country’s current housing protest. The solutions that it proposes will only intensify the problem because the protesters are calling for more of what originally caused the problem.

 

The two major factors that caused the crisis in the construction market are the state monopoly on land and the building freeze on Israel’s most natural and logical land reserves in Judea and Samaria.

 

And what are the protesters calling for? Exactly the same thing: To empower the state’s monopoly, and to flee Judea and Samaria once and for all. They want the state to build houses and rent them. They want everything to belong to the state, which will decide who will receive housing and who will not. This state of affairs would mean that we, the people, would not have responsibility, nor would we enjoy the Torah’s prescription of liberty. Liberty is very different from simple freedom. Liberty means taking responsibility.

 

The protesters not only want to empower the monopoly, but want something else. The New Israel Fund that is bankrolling this display of pseudo-anarchism could not care less about the housing shortage. Its real goal is to depose the Likud and bring about new elections that will complete the process of tearing Israel’s heartland out of its borders. This will deal the final blow to any chance of solving the housing shortage.

 

The Globes Newspaper website featured a short and simple film that outlined how the building freeze in Judea and Samaria was the straw that broke the camel’s back of Israel’s housing market.

 

The film makes the following points: Rabin, Peres, Beilin and company gave Israel’s heartland to Arafat. And the Oslo Accords halted the construction of infrastructure in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. (But in Tel Aviv, it was thought that this was the way to bring peace – while crushing the settlers for good measure.

 

Despite the halt in infrastructure construction and the total elimination of new construction planning in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, construction of housing based on existing plans in the settlements continued. Construction in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, that at some points had provided Israel with more than 20 percent of its housing reserves, shrunk to approximately five percent.

 

At that point, there were still housing and construction reserves inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders (and in Tel Aviv, it was thought that housing in tents was strictly the problem of the settlers). Afterwards, it was decided to destroy Gush Katif, which dispatched another 1,700 homeless families into the housing market. This still did not paralyze the market.

 

And then came the knockout punch that completely blocked the housing channels and threw the entire country into a housing crisis: The building freeze in Judea and Samaria.

 

The protests by the young generation in Judea and Samaria, who wanted to continue to live where they were raised, interested nobody in Tel Aviv. Quite to the contrary. They were only too happy to watch the destruction of the tents and shacks that began to grow on the hills of Judea and Samaria.

 

But now, when construction in Judea and Samaria provides only 0.2 percent of construction in Israel, Tel Aviv’s young generation also finds itself in tents. When fellow housing protesters had the nerve to declare that the solution for the housing crisis is to build in Samaria, they were beaten back.

 

All for the sake of peace, of course.

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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