Moshe Kahlon: Break up Israel Land Authority

Moshe Kahlon

The Kulanu Party chairman told the "Globes" Real Estate Summit that he is determined to break up the ILA.

"I need 15 Knesset seats to solve the housing problem," Kulanu Party chairman Moshe Kahlon said yesterday at the joint "Globes"-Mizrahi Tefahot Bank (TASE:MZTF) Real Estate and Infrastructure Conference.

Kahlon added, "Decisions must be implemented in order to solve the housing crisis, not plans, fruitless marketing gimmicks, or Facebook exercises. Marketing and headlines are all very well, but unless they set a time limit for contractors here, it just won't happen, and they'll just go on marketing.

"Imagine that I had lost the battle over the cellular market. Where would I be today? So courage is needed here, and the realization that had they defeated me, I wouldn't have bread to bring home. You need someone who isn't scared."

Commenting on the criticism of Kahlon's plan, he said, "Let's see what happened with Uri Ariel. He raised prices by 16% by doing nothing. Lapid raised prices with his 0% VAT plan. So before they attack me, let's see what happened with their plans. Had I been responsible for these bodies for two years while prices went up 16%, I'd be ashamed to stand here. If I fail, I won't stand here. I'd be ashamed.

"Our plan talks about setting a time limit - three months for a permit. I don't want to be too arrogant, but first of all, you've got to stop the bleeding here."

"Globes": What do you mean by breaking up the Israel Land Authority (ILA)?

Kahlon: "The ILA manages three agencies: itself, the Jewish National Fund, and the Council for Custodianship of Abandoned Properties. It's a monopoly that doesn't manage very well, so why give it more agencies to manage? You need competition in high-demand areas, and then you have to sell land with a National Outline Plan, with development going to the private market. We won't make a private monopoly here; that's worse. We'll disperse the land well.

"The agency that will manage the housing crisis in the next government should lead the infrastructure, roads and planning, and take it away from the Ministry of the Interior. Without the planning that's connected to the ILA, nothing wilI happen, unfortunately.

"I want to be Minister of Finance. Regardless of what ministry I'm in, I want the Ministry of the Interior Planning Administration consolidated with the ILA, and I want to be in charge of it. Without that, I won't enter the government."

What happened with Lapid?

"My concept is different from Lapid's. I'm talking about a more socially oriented concept. If I join Lapid, have I joined the solution or the problem? I'm talking about breaking up monopolies, competition with the banks - have you heard any of the other party leaders even mention that?"

Commenting about the State Comptroller's report on housing, Kahlon said, "Do I really need the State Comptroller to know what happened to housing prices? Watch the news every night, and you'll see what's happening to housing prices. We're on the eve of elections. Even the trip to the US Congress is part of the campaign, so you don't need to take everything too seriously. I don't imagine there's anything there that borders on criminal acts or anything like that."

Commenting about the last government's housing plans and the 0% VAT plan, Kahlon said, "A minister who failed or a Prime Minister who failed should say, 'I failed, I'm going to do something else,' instead of taking the failure and presenting it as if it were a success."

When asked about the State Comptroller's report on the Prime Minister's residence, Kahlon said, "I've never commented about such things. That's not our job; it's the public's job to deal with it. I don't see myself in this role."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 24, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

Moshe Kahlon
Moshe Kahlon
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