Netanyahu Scolds Likud Ministers: Give Me Ideas to Solve Housing Crisis in Israel

At a cabinet meeting Sunday, PM demands Likud ministers 'share the weight' of the crisis, says he had been aware of the housing problem for years.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Likud ministers on Sunday for not trying to solve the housing crisis that gave rise to mass nationwide protests.

"Give me ideas for a solution," he told the ministers, adding that they must share the weight in handling the crisis. Netanyahu said that besides Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Social Affairs Minister Moshe Kahlon ,Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias and himself, there are no other ministers trying to find solution.

Tel Aviv housing protest - Reuters - July 23, 2011
Reuters

Sources close to Netanyahu said he is extremely frustrated by the Likud ministers' lack of cooperation, not only in trying to find solutions but also for not defending the government in media interviews.

Netanyahu's remarks came after a heated exchange between Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan that revolved another looming socio-economic crisis – the rising price of electricity.

Earlier in the meeting, Netanyahu said that he identified with demonstrators protesting high housing prices, and he had been aware of the problem for years.

"Even before I became prime minister," Netanyahu said, "I asked the 100-day team [a committee focused on economic transition] headed by [Finance Minister] Steinitz to create a plan for the housing problem.”