Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

12 Sivan 5766 - June 8, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Tens of Thousands of Rental Apartments to be Built Within Two years

By Eliezer Rauchberger

Housing Minister Meir Shetreet told the Knesset Finance Committee that the issue of housing rentals is at the top of his ministry's agenda and he plans to have tens of thousands of rental units built within the next two years.

Addressing a committee meeting to discuss the Housing Ministry budget for 2006 Shetreet said today the supply of rental apartments is only on a personal basis, when individuals rent out an apartment, making the supply limited. Thus young couples want and are forced to purchase apartments, meaning the majority of their income is spent on mortgage payments. "Everywhere else in the world the situation is entirely different," said Shetreet.

He told the committee he has met with housing ministers from various countries and has reached the conclusion that rental apartments should be built in Israel with tax benefits for builders who agree to rent the apartments for at least 25 years. Such an arrangement would provide builders a high- yield asset for many years and would be good for the country's young couples as well.

Shetreet said the Kadima platform includes a pledge to build rental apartments and to reduce taxes from 50 percent to 40 percent or even 30 percent. "If rental apartments can be built in European countries and in the US, why is it impossible in Israel?" asked the Housing Minister. "This would make it possible to solve the entire housing crisis, especially for those of limited means."

He told the committee he was surprised to discover what a meager budget the Housing Ministry currently provides in aid for the disadvantaged. He noted these funds were cut drastically without any logical reason and transferred elsewhere.

Shetreet said today the Housing Ministry is far from having the ability to provide the kind of solutions available to young couples in the past and said he plans to change this situation and increase funding to help the under class. To illustrate the cuts at his ministry he noted that a mere NIS 11 million ($2.4 million) is earmarked for neighborhood social rehabilitation projects and a mere NIS 48 million ($10.6 million) for physical rehabilitation projects intended to take care of 76 neighborhoods around the country.


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