A report on housing that is set to be released in the coming days by Comptroller Yosef Shapira is “unnecessary” and “cynical,” according to Likud MKs – and shows how the Comptroller as been co-opted into “overthrowing the Likud government,” senior Likud MKs said.
The report will describe what the Comptroller believes are the reasons homes in Israel are so expensive. According to business daily Globes, Shapira will point his finger directly in the direction of Netanyahu, claiming that it was the policies of his government that jumped real estate prices by tens of percentage points since 2009, when Netanyahu beat out Kadima and Labor to form a government. Also coming in for criticism will be former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who the report says concentrated too much on reducing prices and bringing young couples to the periphery, and failing to encourage developers to build affordable housing in the center of the country.
MK Miri Regev (Likud) termed the report “an insult to the intelligence,” adding that “the Comptroller's response about the timing of the release of this report does nothing but make him look foolish. It is unacceptable that such a report would be released in the midst of an election campaign. The housing crisis is one that has been going on for many years, and governments on the left and right have contributed to it. It is unacceptable that the Comptroller would become a tool of the media to be used in a political campaign.”
Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom called the report “unimportant. There is plenty of time to deal with it another time. Whoever wants to can, of course, investigate anything they want. But to try and influence a political campaign in an unfair manner is, as far as I am concerned, unacceptable. The only proper way to influence an election is at the ballot box, one person at a time.”
Writing on his Facebook page, MK Yariv Levin said that it was “amazing how a sense of urgency has suddenly hit the Comptroller's office, right before the elections, but with no justification whatsoever. The Comptroller's office must not be used in such a politically cynical manner.”
The report had been originally scheduled to be released in November, but was postponed several times as Shapira worked to complete it. Currently, the report's release date is March 3, but it is unclear if that schedule will be observed as well. Reports said that it was likely to be released this week, but there has been no confirmation of that.
The report gathers data and statistics compiled by the Bank of Israel, the Housing Ministry, The Israel Lands Administration, the Economy Ministry, the Finance Ministry, and the Prime Minister's Office.