The real estate issue in Israel is indeed extremely serious and must be addressed correctly but not only with discussion about construction starts etc thereby increasing the supply of available housing in the medium term. Even if the government cannot do much about housing prices at the moment before the new constructions are completed it CAN do A LOT about the problematic mortgages issue. To expect young people to mobilize 30% of apartment prices before they are entitled to a mortgage is frankly plain ridiculous and only the banks can benefit from such arrangements. 30% of 1.5 million shekels is 450,000 shekels!! How can they get that amount together when they earn less than 5000 shekels per month in jobs which exploit them and offer them no guarantees for the future? (thanks to the impotency of the Histadrut......) Why is everyone surprised when youngsters head for Canada and Australia? Come on - face the damn facts head on here! The government should step in and tell them - OK you mobilize 10% (still 150,000 shekels which is a lot) and we, the STATE OF ISRAEL, will give you a long term loan for the other 20% to make up the difference. This idea may not help all of the youngsters but some will benefit from this easing of conditions. This may also reduce the demand for rented accommodation where the landlords, most of whom are in the 60+ age range, themselves benefitted from the old 1970s arrangements of unindexed mortgages, the repayments of which reduced to nothing rapidly in the 1980s hyperinflationary period so they all got free apartments and then bought second apartments and now they exploit these kids who can't even get a mortgage for their FIRST apartment. Complete chutzpah and injustice. If the mortgage problem is attacked then at least a lot of the people in the tents in rehov Rotschild may not be so quick to conclude that Adon Bibi and co are effectively shutting the doors of their VILLAS in the faces of these kids in an uncaring fashion.
Surfer seriously injured in Australian shark attack (AP)