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Bank of Israel Restricts Mortgages Severely, Looking to Avert Future Real Estate Crises

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

The Bank of Israel’s Supervisor of Banks David Zaken on Monday published a draft directive limiting the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio in housing loans, as of November 1, Globes reported.

The new directive stops banks from giving mortgages with an LTV of more than 70%, with an exception for first-time buyers, who are allowed mortgages of up to 75% of the value of the apartment.

Mortgage customers who buy an apartment for investment will be limited to 50% LTV. The directive will go into effect after a discussion in the Advisory Committee on Banking Matters.

The Bank of Israel announced:

“In recent years, we have seen negative developments in the housing market and the housing credit market. The draft directive has been published against the background of the marked increase in recent years in the balance of housing credit and the increase in home prices in Israel. Recent trends in the housing market indicate an increased number of transactions, an increase in the monthly level of mortgages granted and an increase in investors’ volume of activity, among other things against the background of the low interest rate environment in mortgages.

“These developments impact on the risk level inherent in the banks’ credit portfolio – the accelerated increase in the housing credit portfolio on banks’ balance sheets is liable to include risks to the stability of the banking system, primarily in light of the correlation between the housing credit portfolio and the construction and real estate credit portfolio. These represent, as of June 30, 2012, about 40 percent of total balance sheet credit risk.”

According to the Bank of Israel, many of the recent financial crises in foreign countries began with granting housing credit at terms that did not reflect the risks developing in that market.

The new directive is intended, says the Bank of Israel, to reduce the effects of a crisis in the real estate market by reducing the risk inherent in taking out a housing loan with a high loan-to-value ratio.

5,000 Housing Unit Lots for Sale Across Israel

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

The Ministry of Housing and Construction and the Israel Land Authority have announced that land will be market across the country for 5,000 housing units.  The Housing Ministry said it hopes to bring the total number of new housing units this year to 35,000, as it did in 2010 and 2011.

New lands on the market include lots for 2,3000 apartments in Haifa and its suburbs, 30 in the Druze town of Dalyat al-Carmel, 96 in Yokneam, 1,150 in Afula, Rosh Pina, Katzrin, and Kiryat Shmona, as well as property in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi, and Beit Shemesh.

Re-Imagining Av – Signs of Hope in Jerusalem

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

During the Hebrew month of Av, Jews around the world mark the nine somber days of mourning followed by Tisha B’Av (the 9th of Av), one of the most solemn days on the Jewish calendar. There are many reasons why we mourn during this period, but most famously it is because of the destruction of Jerusalem and the thousands of years of exile that ensued. Today, Jerusalem is showing signs of returning to its innovative roots, and while we are not theologians, this new spirit of social and entrepreneurial energy should be a cause for celebration for all those who care deeply about this city.

Jerusalem is a city about which many poems have been written, prayers read and songs sung, all inspiring intense emotions both for her residents and by people the world over. Yet, as the city continues to grow and surpass the rest of Israel’s municipalities in population and geographic size, Jerusalem also regularly appears on the top of the charts as Israel’s poorest city.

A related and perhaps most alarming phenomenon is the trend of negative migration from the city that saps the capital of much-needed human capital. Today, Jerusalem struggles to compete with Israel’s coastal cities in offering the high-quality, well-paying jobs that are needed to keep young, educated families in the city. Additionally, housing prices continue to rise at a rate that makes buying a home completely unattainable for those families. There is an ongoing competition with Tel Aviv with regard to culture and important quality of life factors, and it seems that not everyone wants to make their home at the center of such religious fervor like Jerusalem.

It does not need to be this way. Jerusalem of biblical times was the center of the world; not only in terms of purely religious beliefs, but also in what we would today call “social entrepreneurship.” In fact, the first Israelite Temple was built as a result of an innovative public collections system initiated by King David and brought to fruition by King Solomon. The Second Temple was reinstituted despite the lack of enthusiasm by the established leadership, and was the result of an all-out grassroots campaign by the Jews returning from Persia. Jesus, too, preached his message of social justice from the streets of Jerusalem.

We envision Jerusalem rising again as a center of social activism and entrepreneurship. The city has become a hub for young people fighting to reclaim and renew the ancient Jerusalem—and we believe the intensity and diversity which many point to as a negative is actually the city’s foremost advantage.

One striking example of this development is the budding community in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Kiryat Yovel. Originally built as housing for union workers and students, the neighborhood is today characterized by many different socio-economic populations, often poor and underprivileged ones that represent Israeli society as a whole. Today, thanks to organizations like Ruach Chadasha, scores of young idealistic students and families have been moving into Kiryat Yovel and working together to improve the neighborhood. Through educational and cultural programs that encourage communal Shabbat celebrations and mentoring young children, the organization has connected veteran residents in new ways to their neighborhood. Ruach Chadasha has also led the way to developing affordable housing models in Jerusalem, and and is currently working with its partners to develop the first built-for-rental housing project in Israel.

Another example of Jerusalem leading the way is the internationally successful Moishe House. By bringing together residents to live together and host diverse programs every month for their peers, the Jerusalem Moishe House empowers young adults to become facilitators and leaders of their community. When Moishe House first sought to establish a location in Jerusalem some were skeptical. Within a few weeks after the announcement, this center received more applications than those received at any of its global locations– demonstrating a thirst for pluralistic gathering spaces which celebrate diversity rather than blaming it for social ills.

Such programs are not created in a vacuum. Organizations like PresenTense step up to train these young social entrepreneurs and provide them with the tools they need to create innovative community start-ups that change and improve Jerusalem communities on a daily basis. While these start-ups often shine a spotlight on the less-than-desirable elements of Jerusalem, we tend to see the silver (or golden, in this case) lining. Jerusalem’s population, with all its complexities and problems, actually serves as a microcosm of Israeli society. By encouraging grassroots, entrepreneurial solutions in Jerusalem, we believe that the seeds are being sown for solutions to many of the challenges that Israeli society faces as a whole.

The World Is Aghast as 500 Jewish Families Are Promised Homes

Monday, July 16th, 2012

The AP has apparently caught the Israeli government red handed on the eve of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to the Jewish state, as said government has “quietly agreed to grant subsidies to build more than 500 new homes in the West Bank, backtracking from a promise earlier this year to deny these incentives to the settlements.”

It’s our habit at the Jewish Press to scrub the “west bank” thing and replace it with the more biblical “Judea and Samaria,” despite the inherent reference within that name to a period in the life of the nation in which it was split into two kingdoms, both of which were eventually scrapped by enemies from without and corruption from within. But in this case it makes sense to keep the WB in place, to retain the brazen cold heartedness of the AP report.

The AP reports that the planned construction has enraged Palestinians, although it is difficult to tell at this point what doesn’t enrage Palestinians. But in this case, the move – imagine, housing for 500 Jewish families – would likely also enrage Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is determined to “re-energize” the Mideast peace efforts.

Back in January, Netanyahu’s Cabinet identified more than 550 communities, “including 70 West Bank settlements,” as national priority areas, the AP reminds us. The list drew immediate protests from… you guessed it, the Palestinians. And so, shortly thereafter, Netanyahu quietly held a second vote in a phone meeting to exclude the settlements from the measure.

That figure of 500 housing units has been bandied about a lot lately, including as compensation for the court ordered demolition of a section of Beit El’s Ulpana Hill neighborhood.

The AP cites Israel’s Housing Ministry, saying that the government has approved subsidies for 24 homes in Efrat, south of Jerusalem, as well as “nearly 500 other homes” in Efrat, Beitar Illit and Ariel.

A Housing Ministry spokesman told the AP that construction bids for the 500 homes have not closed yet.

The AP story mentions the Levy committee’s ruling on the legality of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, but it suggests that with more than 500,000 Jewish settlers now living in “the West Bank and east Jerusalem,” the Palestinians say their dream of an independent state is fading as it grows tougher to partition the land between Israelis and Palestinians.

And who among us is heartless enough to want to see a dream fading away?

Of course, each time Israel as much as hints that it is serious about facilitating this dream of binational coexistence based on mutual recognition, it somehow ends in rivers of blood, as the Palestinians are still unwilling to embrace the concept.

Some dreams are better defined as nightmares.

A Country of Free Men or Free Things?

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/a-country-of-free-men-or-free-things.html

As I write this, the barges are being towed along the Hudson. Streets have been blocked off, police officers collecting overtime have assembled, and the crowds are trickling in hours early to grab prime viewing positions for the fireworks display. While Independence Day is the official name of the celebration, the media is still celebrating a Supreme Court decision which granted the government the power to outsource taxation to corporations by compelling everyone to purchase a product from a private company by virtue of having been born.

Nancy Pelosi explained that the mandate was more of a penalty on “Free Riders” than a tax. Down by the Hudson River, British warships once plied the waterway in a bid to prevent the colonists from acting as “Free Riders” on their investment. The debate over whether people could be disenfranchised and compelled to pay for the grandiose plans of an out of touch government was eventually thought to have been settled further north at Saratoga. But the debate is back.

Co-Dependence Day is the new Independence Day. “I love you, you tolerate me and we all live together in a happy planned economy.” Free riders are people who, like the Colonists, are perceived to have benefited from the gargantuan investment of government without paying their proper share.

All that the Crown really wanted was for the colonists to pay their “fair share”, a share that was determined thousands of miles away. All that the colonists wanted was the rights of Englishmen that they believed they were entitled to. After a great deal of bloodshed, the colonists won the right to be Americans instead—an odd series of consonants and vowels having to do with an Italian explorer but meaning free and limited government.

The “Free Riders” who didn’t want to pay into the empire won the day, but hardly anyone in the crowds heading toward the Hudson remembers what the day is about. The denizens of public housing, who are the true “Free Riders”, certainly don’t. They are getting a free ride on everything from food to housing, but the free ride comes from the taxpayers that Pelosi and Obama damn as “Free Riders”. And the only way to keep their free ride going is by ending everyone else’s freedom.

The fireworks are just one more free thing in the sea of free things that they swim in. The Fourth to them is Fireworks Day. Every country has its fireworks days and this is the day that this one chooses to light up the night sky. The day means nothing to them because though they are surrounded by free things, they aren’t free. The difference between freedom and free things has been progressively erased so that many think that the American Revolution was fought because the British weren’t providing affordable health coverage to the colonies. If only they knew about the NHS, they would vote to go back.

There is a big difference between a free country and a country of free things. You can have one or the other, but you can’t have both. A free country isn’t obsessed with free riders; only a country of free things obsesses over making everyone pay their fair share for the benefit of the people who want the free things. The rugged individualism of Colonial America has given way to stifling crowds, co-dependent on each other, lined shoulder to shoulder, clutching at each other’s wallets, crying, “Take from him and give to me.”

We are a nation overflowing with the right to things paid for with other people’s money. A nation where the government gives you food, housing and education; while Walmart gives you cheap products made in China, that used to be made in America, back when people were able to afford health care, housing and food without having to pick each other’s pockets.

The fireworks that shoot up in a wonderland of blue and red, silver and gold, are a faint echo of the real thing, the gunpowder that blasted back and forth between the lines of government troops, their Hessian mercenaries and the rebel colonists who chose to ride free, rather than bend their necks to the plans of an expanding empire. The faint smell of gunpowder and the dark shapes of the barges only mime the war that was fought here. A play of light and shadow whose meaning reaches fewer and fewer people each year.

The Cult of America

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Not long ago, there was a case of a cult leader who was arrested for having a harem of twenty homeless teenage girls whom he kept in a mansion and sexually molested as part of their allegiance to him. In court, his lawyer gave an impassioned speech, asking the jury to take into consideration all of the good he had done in rescuing them from the street, housing them, providing them with food, clothing, and paying for their medical care. He hadn’t forced anyone to stay in his mansion. He hadn’t locked the doors. He had simply rescued them and given them his love.

Yes, America took in hordes of downtrodden immigrant Jews. Yes, America was a land of opportunity for the homeless and starving. Yes, America allowed them freedom of religion. Yes, in America, many poor immigrant Jews became rich and famous. And, yes, America has helped the State of Israel in many ways too.

But the fact is, call it whatever nice fancy, intellectual-sounding, three or four syllable name that you wish, the majority of Jews in America are being raped. Raped of their Jewish identity. Raped of being Jews. Raped of their Jewish future. No one is forcing them, but it is happening all the same.

Not everyone mind you. About 35% to 40% of American Jews are still hanging on to being Jewish. But assimilation is steadily increasing, and hundreds of thousands are disappearing with every passing decade. Soon, only the Orthodox will be left, and who will save them when the Americans remind them the hard way that they are Jews, not Americans – as has happened in every age throughout history, in every gentile country with whom we have fallen in love?

In my family alone, except for my brother, all of my cousins and second cousins married out of the faith – all of them. Finished. Kaput. The end of the line. After 5000 years of clinging to being Jewish, generation after generation, through times of harsh and often murderous oppression, the candle was snuffed out in the love boat of America, which is so good to the Jews, it rapes them of being Jewish – not by force – but by feeding them, and housing them, and providing them with all kinds of goodies and love.

It won’t happen to your children, you say – if you are even married, because who but homosexuals get married these days? And if it does happen to your children and grandchildren, well, it’s no big deal, you claim – everyone is equal, people are free to do what they want with their lives, why should there be differences and ethnic borders in the world? The main thing is love.

“Love, shmov,” my grandmother would say. “A curse on Columbus!”

That little gem, she was fond of saying every Columbus Day for his having discovered the land of assimilation that is steadily and surely wiping out the Jewish People, even though everything is honky dory with you. Who cares about the future of our people? My life today is what matters! That’s all that counts to the cultists of America. EQUALITY! LIBERTY! ACCEPTANCE!

Yes, America has been good to the Jews. Just like the rapist was good to his harem of teenage lovers.

National Union MKs Demand Defense of Jews on Mount of Olives

Monday, June 11th, 2012

National Union MKs Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari toured eastern Jerusalem’s A-Tur neighborhood on Sunday afternoon in an attempt to highlight the need for security in the area, famous for housing the millennia-old Mount of Olives cemetery.

Ben Ari and Eldad called on police to provide better protection for Jews in the area, which is part of the municipality of Israel’s capital.

The Mount of Olives has been the site of several recent rock attacks against Jews by Arab residents.  Attacks have been launched against young children, as well as US congressmen in the area on tour.

No violence was reported during the National Union MKs’ tour.  However, 50 police officers were positioned along their travel route, to thwart attacks.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/national-union-mks-demand-defense-of-jews-on-mount-of-olives/2012/06/11/

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