Justice in Israel

Knesset marks dismal state of public housing in Israel

0 Comments 23 July 2017

Last Tuesday (July 18), Israel’s Knesset noted the dismal state of public housing in our nation. Public Housing Day, now a tradition at the Knesset, is an important legislative advocacy day for the Forum for Public Housing, of which Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) proudly plays an active and critical role.

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During the course of the day, multiple discussions were held in various Knesset committees on relevant issues including the lack of transparency in public housing eligibility criteria, the Barbibai report for preventing evictions, bureaucratic obstacles perpetuating the cycle of poverty, the appalling shortage of housing availability, and the fact that thousands of people – all clearly qualified for public housing – are forced to wait years to receive it.

A central conference of nearly 200 activists and citizens convened where the voices of those suffering while waiting for housing and those living without dignity were heard.

The day served as a source of strength for social justice activists working throughout the country. It is critical that these activists expose the broad picture of Public Housing in Israel in order to further understanding of the full range of issues while also providing a sense hope and strength for this Sisyphean struggle.

Public Housing Day is an annual opportunity to remind legislators that we are here and our struggle is not going anywhere – quite the opposite, as each year more and more activists, groups and organisations join us.

During the day a number of important statements were made:

*Deputy Housing Minister Jackie Levy took it upon himself to ensure that single mothers receiving government stipends but not income support will also be eligible for public housing.

*Representatives of the Legal Aid Department in the Ministry of Justice harshly criticized the conduct of the Housing Ministry committees, and in the coming months an inter-office effort will be made to change the conduct of the exceptions committees.

As rabbis demanding human rights, we will continue to follow all developments in this arena, demand the issue of public housing get its due, and fight to change unjust legislation and policy in order to ensure all Israelis a safe and stable roof over their heads.

More on public housing in Israel

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