Labor leaders Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni convened a press conference Thursday, wherein they blamed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the housing crisis following a damning report from the State Comptroller published Wednesday night.
"The prime minister is responsible – he is not just about giving speeches and spins," Herzog claimed. "There are prime ministers here who could bang on the table and drive real actions forward for the interests of the public," he added, referring to himself and Livni, as it were.
Herzog also accused Netanyahu of devoting significant resources to "settlements" rather than dealing with the housing crisis within 1949 Armistice lines.
"Over the last six years, [Netanyahu] spent billions of dollars on settlements outside the settlement blocs, a huge sum that if proper planning was concentrated on young couples, would have meant that this press conference wouldn't have been held," Herzog stated. "Such a distorted distribution of public funds does not make sense."
Housing Ministry figures revealed in October 2014 that the housing crisis has critically deepened over the past year - in no small part due to the "covert" building freeze in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria – and critics argue that a lift on the building freeze, not rampant building around Jerusalem, would provide a better and more sustainable solution.
Herzog has previously stated plans to shut down the World Zionist Organization's Settlement Division, which functionally represents thousands of Israeli Jews living in Judea-Samaria. 389,250 Jews now live in Judea-Samaria, up over 15,000 people since 2013 – all of whom would be left without active government representation in the event Herzog carries out his threat. An additional 375,000 live in neighborhoods of Jerusalem over the 1949 Armistice line, such as the French Hill, Sanhedria, the Mount of Olives, and Mount Scopus.
For perhaps the first time since the formation of the Herzog-Livni pact – which has been predicated almost entirely on a smear campaign against Netanyahu, under the slogan, "It's us or him" – Herzog also outlined details of the party's platform, including increasing public housing, regulating the rental market, and changing the land management system for construction.
Livni, meanwhile, claimed that Netanyahu "bothers his citizens through fear" instead of "being bothered by citizens' problems."
"Israel needs a prime minister who cares about humans, who lived in this country and knows the hardships and knows how to solve them," she urged.