While the Comptroller's report on household spending released this week is seen by most Israelis as “politics as usual” – and thus not affecting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Likud at the polls – a new report being prepared by Comptroller Yosef Shapira could be a much bigger problem for the Prime Minister.
In that report, which is to be released sometime before the March 17 elections, the Comptroller will describe what he 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 percentages 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, whom the report says concentrated too much on reducing prices and bringing young couples to the periphery, and failed to encourage developers to build affordable housing in the center of the country.
Netanyahu is likely to use that charge against the Olmert government to defend himself from the report's findings, the paper said. However, the report will directly state that it is Netanyahu who was responsible for failing to market enough parcels for construction, creating a housing shortage that has caused prices to rise almost incessantly since 2008.
The report will say that the government did not observe its own schedule for releasing land and auctioning off parcels, which would have helped reduce prices.
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.
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.