Israeli minister says settler units in West Bank will solve housing crisis

Jerusalem, Jan 1 (EFE).- Israel’s housing crisis would be partly resolved by building more settlements in the occupied West Bank, newly appointed Israeli minister of construction and housing Yitzchak Goldknopf said Sunday.

“We have a duty to all young couples in Israel regardless of their race, religion and worldview. The housing issue concerns everyone. We will help our brothers in the West Bank. A part of the solution to the crisis of housing is there,” the leader of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party said during a handover ceremony with his predecessor.

The 30 ministers making up the new coalition government of Benjamin Netanyahu took part in separate handover ceremonies on Sunday, the first working day for Israel’s most far-right administration ever after it was approved by the Knesset and sworn in on Thursday.

Netanyahu, 73, returned to power at the helm of his sixth government after leading the opposition for one and a half years.

Israel has been undergoing a critical housing shortage that saw prices soar by 20% in 2022.

Although swathes of land in the Israeli territory such as the Negev desert in the south remain largely unpopulated, various figures in the new government prefer to expand settlement units in the West Bank.

Bezalel Smotrich, who holds a ministerial role in the defense ministry in addition to the position of finance minister, is an ardent supporter of settlement expansion in the West Bank.

“I’m not sure that all of our steps are popular, but I hope that they prove to be correct over time,” said Bezalel, who will be in charge of managing policies for civilians in the West Bank.EFE


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