State Sells Mobile Homes Cheap to Settlements

Heavily discounted prefab 'caravillas' being sold to West Bank regional council by Finance Ministry; beneficiaries could include illegal outposts.

A file photo of the Amona outpost.
Olivier Fitoussi

The Finance Ministry is selling the Binyamin Regional Council, which includes the West Bank settlements of Ofra, Talmon, Atara and Shvut Rachel, 50 double-wide mobile homes at deeply discounted prices and without issuing a tender, TheMarker has learned.

The treasury, which was taken over by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after he expelled Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party from the coalition last month, is selling the prefab “caravillas” for 4 million shekels ($1.02 million) in total, 40% less than the usual price.

The beneficiaries could include unauthorized outposts such as Migron and Amona. Caravillas are popular with settlers as quick and low-cost way to build and expand settlements.

Critics have accused Netanyahu of using the treasury to help his election campaign, but the Finance Ministry said the sale was nothing out of the ordinary. “Selling [temporary] structures is a routine activity, taking into account the size of the sale and preserving the interests of the government in accordance with the Tender Law,” it said.

The mobile homes being sold by the Finance Ministry were purchased over the years for various purposes, including housing settlers who were evacuated in the Gaza Strip disengagement in 2005. The treasury’s tenders committee approved selling to the regional authority 20 of the homes, each of which is between 50 square meters and 130 square meters, 14 months ago without a tender at a discounted price.

More recently, the council asked to purchase 30 more under the same terms, a request that was approved by the treasury.

A treasury spokesman said the sale was necessary in order to prevent the homes from deteriorating and to make room for other mobile homes that are due to arrive at the government storage site where the caravans have been sitting.

“The market is saturated with caravans both news and used, which makes it difficult to sell them,” the spokesman said.

The 40% discount is the same that was offered to the religious Kibbutz Ein Tsurim, which bought 60 of the prefab homes in August 2013.