The government approved this week the construction of the city of Charish in Nachal Iron (Wadi Ara — lower Galil) and the government decided to set up a directors committee, to be headed by the director-general of the Ministry of Construction and Housing, to implement the decision to set up the city of Charish and other ways to find a housing solution for the chareidi sector.
The committee was formed to link all of the various ministries involved in such an enormous project and to navigate bureaucracies, keep the project on schedule and maximize the number of housing units.
Planning for the city of Charish began 20 years ago in 1990 for the general public when Ariel Sharon became minister of construction and housing. Tens of thousands of housing units were planned under Sharon's leadership, but for two decades the ministry was unable to successfully market the plots due to low demand in the general population.
According to the government decision, the directors committee tasked with the setup of the city will submit its recommendations to the government within 90 days. The decision states that the chareidi sector suffers from an acute housing shortage and that the new community should be advanced as quickly as possible, the various planning procedures accelerated and the necessary infrastructure laid.
At the request of Labor Party Chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the director-general of the Agricultural Ministry will also be added to the directors committee.
According to a survey of chareidi housing needs conducted by the Construction and Housing Ministry between 2005 and 2007, by the year 2025 another 60,000 new housing units will be needed for the chareidi population. Charish stands out as a viable option with strong potential and high availability, in part because of the general population's lack of interest to live there.