Housing Cuts Target Chareidim

YERUSHALAYIM -

Public housing provisions which enabled chareidim to take advantage of available subsidies were targeted for abolition by Finance Minister Yair Lapid in the housing cabinet on Monday.

The decision revoked a provision that gave benefits to couples based on a range of criteria, including the number of years married. The rationale behind those criteria was that a family that has been married for a number of years and has yet to purchase an apartment of their own should be given assistance before a couple that recently married. Naturally, chareidim were helped by this clause, and Lapid boasted that “we have tossed out” this provision from the criteria.

Furthermore, there was a reduction in assistance to large families to match those of families with just three children.

In addition, a means test will be implemented to screen out applicants who are not actively participating in the workforce, a measure aimed at excluding kollel avreichim from obtaining long-term leases or reduced purchasing prices.

Lapid claims that his policies are designed to correct “economic distortions.”

Housing Minister Uri Ariel, from the Jewish Home party, denied that the purpose of the changes is to target any segment of the population.

“The new criteria for affordable housing put the working man in the center, but, at the same time, do not harm the chareidi public or minorities, and encourage them to enter the labor force in a gradual and appropriate way,” he said.

The cabinet also decided to put public purchase law into effect on August 1, which would allow long-term residents of public housing to purchase their apartments at subsidized prices.