Translated from the Makor Rishon newspaper
Last week, the Knesset held a special session, with the participation of the PM, on the housing crisis. In my speech, I presented a special report that proves that if the current construction and natural growth trends continue, the land reserved for construction in Israel’s pre-1967 borders will be completely depleted in less than two decades.
Here are two little-known facts:
1. Every year, demand for new construction equals the size of the city of Ramat Gan.
2. Over the past seven years, the National Master Plan’s (called TMA 35) population growth forecast underestimated Israel’s population growth by no less than 700,000 people. In other words, we have a population the size of one and a half Tel Avivs that nobody dreamed of less than a decade ago. This trend, thank G-d, continues.
We can summarize the housing problem with one simple question:
Whose land is this? Does it belong to the People, or to the State?
In a state that enjoys true liberty, the answer is clear – and most of its land is private. In Israel, just the opposite is true. This is what brings about the Israel Land Authority’s mediation, the mad taxation and the impossible heavy-handedness in the authorization and licensing process, which drive the price of housing sky high.
The solution is to enter a process of land privatization and return to its natural owners: the general public. The Land of Israel for the Nation of Israel, just as the Torah of Israel, which demands our liberty, directs.
When we ask whose land this is, we of course touch upon national ownership. Actually, as reflected in the Special Report, even if we solve all the problems mentioned above, if current trends continue, we will have overflow population in 15 years.
The real solution, and apparently the only intrinsic solution, is to understand that the Land of Israel belongs to the Nation of Israel – both on a private and national basis. The Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel before it belongs to the State of Israel. It belongs to the Nation of Israel and no other nation.
The only viable solution is to build modern, metropolitan housing on the western slopes of the Judea, Benjamin and Samaria regions. These areas are a short commute from Israel’s commerce and industry hub.
So actually we have two choices: Either we understand that the entire Land is ours and we build many more Modi’ins on the slopes of Western Samaria, just one half hour from Israel’s large cities. Or we build in the sea.