A Jewish Solution to Israel’s Housing Crisis
By Moshe Feiglin
Who caused Israel’s housing shortage?
That sounds demagogic, but let me explain:
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 ideology has helped to 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 ideology behind the housing protest. The solutions that it proposes will only intensify the problem because the protesters are calling for more of what caused the problem in the first place:
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 monopoly and to flee Judea and Samaria once and for all. They want the State to build houses and to 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 what the Torah prescribes: liberty. Liberty is very different from simple freedom. Liberty means taking responsibility.
The protesters want to empower the monopoly, but they want something else as well. 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 to 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 to really solve 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. (Click here for this Hebrew film http://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1000602668 )
The film makes the following points:
First came Rabin, Peres, Beilin and Co. and gave Israel’s heartland to Arafat.
The Oslo Accords halted the construction of infrastructure in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. (But in Tel Aviv they thought that this was the way to bring peace, while crushing the settlers for good measure, so why not?)
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% of its housing reserves, shrunk to approximately 5%.
At that point, there were still housing and construction reserves inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders (and in Tel Aviv they thought that housing in tents was strictly the problem of the settlers). Afterwards, they decided to destroy Gush Katif, dispatching another 1,700 homeless families into the housing market. This still did not paralyze the market.
And then came the knock-out that completely blocked the housing channels and threw the entire country into a housing crisis: The building freeze in Judea and Samaria.
The protests of the young generation in Judea and Samaria who wanted to continue to live where they had grown up interested nobody in Tel Aviv. On the contrary – they were only too happy to watch the destruction of the tents and shacks that began to grow up on the hills of Samaria and Judea.
But now, when construction in Judea and Samaria provides only 0.2% of construction in Israel, the Tel Aviv young generation finds itself in tents, as well. When fellow housing protesters had the nerve to declare that the solution for the housing crisis is to build in Samaria, they beat them. All for the sake of peace, of course.