Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Domestic issues

The news stories in Israel are focussed on domestic issues, the price of cottage cheese and the student demonstrations against the high cost of renting.

The cottage cheese war began when someone noticed that the price of Israeli-made cottage cheese in the US and Europe (Romania) is less than it is for the same product in Israel. This led to the setting up of a Facebook page, that garnered 100,000 friends in a very short time. Questions were then asked in the Knesset and the PM responded and agreed that something was wrong and there should be hearings. It was considered strange that all three main manufacturers of cottage cheese charge exactly the seme price. Then it became clear that most food products in supermarkets are over-priced, Then the price of cottage cheese and other milk products in Israel began to drop. So what is to be done? There may be more consumer action.

Meanwhile students at Tel Aviv University became upset at the high cost of renting apartments in Tel Aviv that are beyond their means. Once agan someone started a Facebook page and the suggestion was made to have a demonstration on Rothschild
Boulevard in Tel Aviv and thousands of people responded, and now there is an encampment on that street that has a wide sandy park down the middle. Then the PM issued a statement supporting the students and asking them to demonstrate outside the Knesset so that he can bring in a bill in this session to help lower the cost of housing. Now "tent cities" of student demonstrators are appearign all over Israel. The Government "Land Reform Bill" had its first reading in the Knesset.

The cost of housing in Israel is very high and rising. I don't understand why, because there is a huge amount of apartment building going on in Netanya and elsewhere in Israel. Once again, one suspects lack of competition. But, the price in Tel Aviv is one of the highest in the world. Netanya College was mentioned as one of those that provide cheaper housing for students. But, unfortunately Tel Aviv University cannot provide housing for all 35,000 students. There is not much the Government can do about this. They can put cheaper Government subsidised housing on the market as the Land Reform Bill proposes, but that will take a few years anyway. I feel sorry for the students, out there in the hot sun, there are some problems the Government cannot solve.


Post a Comment

<< Home