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MK Kirshenbaum Battles for Affordable Housing

Published on: November 29, 2012

Today, the High Court of Justice will discuss the petition filed by Yisrael Beytenu MK Faina Kirshenbaum and Beytenu Youth regarding the criteria for affordable housing, which favor the Ultra-Orthodox sector of society.

During the hearing before a panel of Supreme Court justices Miriam Naor, Yitzhak Amit and Uri Shoham State Attorney Hani Ofek said that the criteria should be discussed and decided upon by the Cabinet and not in the courtroom.  Unfortunately, that has not happened, and the court will be issuing its decision in the coming days.

 Much to our frustration, the judges hampered many questions representative of the state, for example, what was Housing Minister Atias’s involvement in the formulation of the criteria?

 At the close of the four-hour hearing, the Supreme Court announced that it was considering issuing a conditional injunction against the government enjoining it to explain why it chose not to include earning capacity as a criterion for couples seeking housing as part of the government’s affordable housing program

In response to the Court’s conditional injection, MK Faina Kirschenbaum said, “Our petition’s  complaint is the  Housing Authority’s disregard of  the recommendations of the Commission for Social Economic Change, headed by Prof. Trajtenberg.  These recommendations directed government affordable housing programs to give preference to people who worked or were seeking employment, what we call ‘earning capacity.’  I think that the best course of action would be to work out this issue in the government instead of the courtroom.  The government has accepted en bloc  Trajtenberg Committee’s recommendations  and should therefore be bound to implement them.  The Housing Minister should not be free to selectively ignore parts of the recommendations.  I hope that the Supreme Court decision will advance the cause of social justice regarding young couples – the future of our society and those who shoulder the burden of serving in the army.  We must stop the discrimination in the criteria for affordable housing. “

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