Manufacturers: Require Foreign Builders to Use Israeli Materials

YERUSHALAYIM -
Construction of new residential buildings in the Northern Israeli city of Harish. Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Flash90
Construction of new residential buildings in the northern city of Charish. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

With the Bank of Israel saying Sunday that unless tens of thousands of new homes are built very soon, the price of housing in Israel will only continue to rise, plans by the government to admit foreign construction firms to Israel and allow them to build homes are more relevant than ever. But Israeli manufacturers have a request: If foreign firms are allowed to build homes in Israel, they should be required to use Israeli building materials.

In its report, the bank said that all of the plans the government has implemented are too little, too late – and without many new units, there is no chance for housing prices to go down. Several weeks ago, the housing cabinet authorized a measure whereby foreign construction firms would be invited to Israel to build homes, in order to speed up the pace of construction. However, the Manufacturers’ Association has been circulating a petition to demand that the firms use made-in-Israel materials.

According to the Association, there are some 300 firms in Israel that make materials for home construction, and they employ thousands of people. If the country is inundated with foreign-made building materials, Israel will lose out as much as it profits, as thousands will join the ranks of the unemployed.

Speaking to business daily Globes, a CEO of a leading manufacturing plant said he fears “that it will be easier for foreign companies to bring in their own materials and use the suppliers they are familiar with. As a result, hundreds of Israeli factories are likely to find the market inundated with foreign goods. It would be wise for the government to require foreign companies to purchase materials in Israel.”