Justice in Israel

Public Housing Forum calls for the board of housing company Amidar to be replaced

0 Comments 13 December 2015

The Public Housing Forum, of which Rabbis for Human Rights is an active member,  demands an investigation into the conduct of Amidar, a replacing of its board, and a guarantees that it will operate  as a public company  under appropriate supervision and transparency. 

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The Forum for Public Housing

The Public Housing Forum stands together with the Knesset Housing Caucus in opposition to Amidar’s attempts to privatize public housing units.  The Housing Minister, who pledged that there would be no process of privatization of public housing, also strongly opposes this policy.  A housing company entrusted to protect the rights of public housing residents must not become a company that is interested in profit; this could lead to a violation of their rights and create a loophole that would endanger already scarce public housing resources.

Neglect of public housing over the years has led to our currently unacceptable situation. Therefore, it is incumbent on the government to introduce an immediate solution, and this distress should not serve as an excuse for actions that will privatise the company in its entirety.  The experience of other countries shows that any attempt to transfer the ownership of public housing to a for-profit company has failed.  We must not fall into this trap.

This is even more true when the housing company in discussion has failed in all its actions: its failed performance at various  branches where clerks threaten tenants; its attempts at trying to sell public housing on the open market, which was stopped by the Attorney General; the fact that the company has signed urban renewal agreements for public housing with the full knowledge that tenants would not be able to return to their homes – which necessitates an investigation and a full explanation; the failure of purchasing apartments from a dedicated fund paid with excessive spending of more than a million shekels on advertising and public relations, and much more.

Meital Cohen, a public housing resident and member of the forum:

“We get dozens of calls a week on the failures of Amidar. I do not understand how they dare to want to be an entrepreneurial company when their functioning is so poor.”

Amidar has to return to knowing how to do one simple thing: provide reasonable service for people living in poverty. If it fails at that, its leaders have to go home! We demand leadership that will make the Amidar a housing company operating under appropriate supervision and transparency.

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