"The issue of housing has become critical and could even lead to a coalition crisis," said Knesset Finance Committee Chairman MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni on Tuesday, during boisterous committee meeting on the Ministry of Housing and Construction's budget for 2011 and 2012.
"The Israel Lands Administration has become the biggest profiteer of land in Israel," he added.
Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias said his ministry is making concerted efforts to solve the housing crisis. He agreed that the housing crisis is the biggest problem Israel currently faces, saying young couples often burden themselves with a lifetime mortgage.
Citing figures published by the Housing Ministry's Department of Economic Research, he said, "From the beginning of 2008 to date, apartment prices have risen 40.9 percent."
On the issue of apartment supply, Minister Attias noted that in the past decade an average of 15,000 apartments per year were marketed, compared to 30,000 units in 2009 and more than 30,000 already in 2010.
The supply of land should be increased, said the minister, and young couples should be helped in purchasing their first apartment.
"Next Monday we will hold a comprehensive meeting of the Israel Lands Committee, a meeting that will be fully devoted to incentives for increasing the supply of land."