Speaking in a ceremony to celebrate a new housing project in Pardes Hana-Karkur (which is in pre-1967 Israel), Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) said he plans to continue construction in settlements that lie beyond the Green Line.
“It’s great that we are being shown the finished project, but we would be happy if you were to tell us about the next project, ” Ariel told Yisrael Zaira, the CEO of construction firm B’emuna. “Israel has stated that it must build on both sides of the Green Line. I don’t know what is the Green Line. This story is finished. It’s totally anachronistic. We need to build everywhere. We need to build in Ariel and Efrat just as we build in Karmiel and Arad, and that is what we intend to do”.
Ariel’s statements dovetailed with the policies enacted by the Construction and Housing Ministry as well as the Israel Lands Authority (ILA). A new website unveiled by Ariel’s office, aimed at publicizing the latest housing units to be marketed in the coming years, included a map that encompasses the territories beyond the Green Line as well as the Gaza Strip.
This policy is also reflected in recent statistics unveiled by Israeli authorities. Since the start of this year, the ILA has published tenders for 2, 300 housing units in the settlements, a sharp increase of 866 percent compared with the same period a year ago. Of the 16, 500 housing units, 14 percent were marketed in the settlements.
B’emuna real estate company is currently building more than 2, 000 housing units across the country, including in Efrat, Ariel, and east Jerusalem.
The Pardes Hana-Karkur project, dubbed “Eucalyptus Grove, ” offers affordable housing to young couples in the religious-Zionist community. The neighborhood is tailored to the needs of the religious Zionist constituency, with all home buyers having served in the Israel Defense Forces. They are also currently serving in the military as reservists.
Commenting on the high cost of housing in Israel, minister Ariel suggested housing prices will drop in 2015.
“We are investing billions of shekels in housing, ” Ariel said.