Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Heads I win, Tails You Lose

The Knesset plenum today passed the National Housing Committees Law, the "supertanker" that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a few months ago. The vote was 57 in favor and 45 against.

The law is intended to expedite the construction of 50,000 housing units within 18 months, bypassing the local and regional planning and building commissions, in order to lower home prices. Currently, a housing project can take five years in the planning process before construction begins.

The tent protesters called for the National Housing Committees Law to be withdrawn before the vote, on the grounds that the beneficiaries will be the developers. They argue that the law sets out no mechanism for lowering prices for land or apartments. Environmental organizations have also criticized the bill on the grounds that fast-track planning of such a large number of homes will damage the environment.

Protesters demonstrated outside the Knesset today. The police arrested four demonstrators. Students and tent protesters are threatening to block key urban intersections during the day.

Source Globes

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