An agreement was signed today by the Jerusalem municipality, Ministry of Finance, and Israel Land Authority for construction of 23,000 housing units in the city. The signing ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, Minister of Construction and Housing Yifat Shasha-Biton, and ILA director Adiel Shomron.
The agreement provides for the construction of 23,000 housing units, including 8,000 as part of urban renewal in the city's old neighborhoods, and three million square meters of commercial, office, and hotel space. NIS 1.5 billion will be invested in infrastructure in old neighborhoods. A joint announcement by ILA, the Ministry of Finance, and the Jerusalem municipality stated that some of the housing units would be allocated to the Buyer Fixed Price Plan, although as of now, one month before the Knesset elections, the fate of the plan is unknown. 5,000 of the housing units will be built in the framework of the white ridge plan, a subject of bitter dispute because of its great environmental sensitivity. Public objections to the plan are currently being heard. The agreement includes an ILA commitment to allocate additional land for construction of over 2,500 housing units, mainly on the white ridge.
"The agreement is a direct continuation of a cabinet resolution in which all the parties agreed to develop, build and expand 12 neighborhoods in the capital," the announcement said. In the first stage, ILA will market the plan for the Arnona hillside and the Israel Goldstein Youth Village. It was also agreed that the Jerusalem municipality and its municipal companies would develop infrastructure with ILA financing and under the latter's supervision. "Under the agreement the government and the Jerusalem municipality will construct public buildings and upgrade infrastructure in the old neighborhoods," the agreement says. The agreement also stipulates that ILA will pay the cost of developing the lots and general municipal infrastructure from its own resources, based in principle on proceeds from marketing the land and the budgets of various government ministries. For some of the lots, the municipality and the Local Planning and Building Commission will refrain from charging development fees in exchange for ILA's providing a development budget.
"Jews built in Jerusalem 3,000 years ago, and Jews are building in Jerusalem today," Netanyahu said. "Jerusalem is not a settlement. Jerusalem is Israel's eternal capital. 3,000 years is part of eternity. We are committed to Jerusalem."
Kahlon said, "The roof agreement we are signing today puts an end to the freezing of construction in Jerusalem. We are obligated to prove that Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem, including all of its parts, in not just a slogan; it is practice. We invest billions in the city of Jerusalem every year, and this roof agreement mentions another NIS 1.5 billion. I am in politics so that there will be 150,000 more young couples with apartments in the coming years, and so that we'll be able to sign additional roof agreements."
Lion said, "Some governments want to divide Jerusalem, while others give to Jerusalem. This is a historic moment, and I am proud to be the one leading it. Under my authority, the Jerusalem municipality is making history today by signing with the prime minister, the minister of finance, and ILA a roof agreement that will add 14,800 more housing units to Jerusalem and millions of square meters for business and housing. This is a significant step that will provide future housing solutions and employment for the city's young people, who will eventually remain in the city."
Shomron said, "The roof agreement with Jerusalem is good news for Israel's capital, which has lacked land for housing for a long time. ILA has come to the aid of an important agreement, which will constitute a demographic, economic, and employment growth engine for Jerusalem."
Shasha said, "I congratulate the mayor for the new spirit in promoting and strengthening construction in Jerusalem, our eternal capital. I am proud to head a ministry that promote urban renewal on an unusual scale, and I hope that this will bring good news to all parts of the country, in renewing the aging urban fabric."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 11, 2019
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