471 new apartments for Holocaust survivors

January 18, 2018 by Avi Mayer
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Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Gallant and Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky have laid the cornerstone of the largest housing project for senior citizens ever constructed in Israel.

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Gallant, and acting Mayor of Ashkelon Tomer Glam lay the cornerstone of the largest-ever housing project for senior citizens ever constructed in Israel.
Photo: Sasson Tiram for The Jewish Agency for Israel.

The United Israel Appeal in Australia has told J-Wire it is looking at opportunities to be financially involved in the project.

471 apartments will be built for Holocaust survivors and immigrants in Ashkelon by The Jewish Agency via its public housing subsidiary, Amigour, as part of an initiative of unprecedented scale led by The Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Construction and Housing. In total, 2,650 public housing units will be constructed across the country for individuals and couples eligible for such housing from the Ministry. The plan will cost some NIS 1.5 billion to implement and will be funded jointly by the Ministry and The Jewish Agency, in partnership with Jewish communities around the world.

The plan will make use of land owned by The Jewish Agency in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Herzliya, Be’er Sheva, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Netanya, Rehovot, Lod, Bat Yam, and elsewhere. The Jewish Agency recently completed a unique financing agreement with the Harel Group for approximately NIS 600 million to help fund the project.

The apartments will be offered for long-term lease to elderly individuals and couples eligible for housing assistance from the Ministry, for monthly rent of no more than NIS 300. In addition, it is expected that individuals and couples currently residing in larger apartments as part of the public housing program will choose to move to the new buildings, vacating their current apartments and making them available to young families currently awaiting public housing solutions.

A sketch of the three residential buildings
Photo: Jewish Agency for Israel.

Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Gallant said: “Today we launch the largest housing project for senior citizens ever constructed in the State of Israel. We have a national and moral responsibility to care for Israel’s elderly and I am therefore proud to lead this initial effort together with Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and Amigour. This project offers an immediate solution to Israel’s elderly population, which includes Holocaust survivors and new immigrants awaiting sheltered public housing.”

Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky said: “This is an important step toward addressing the housing crisis among Israel’s immigrant and elderly populations. The world’s Jewish communities have recognized this as a major societal challenge in Israel and have mobilized to help the country advance solutions on a far broader scale than anything seen before.”

Amigour, a Jewish Agency subsidiary that specializes in the construction and management of high-quality public housing projects across the country, will oversee the construction of the new buildings and will manage them for a minimum of forty years.

Chairman of the Board of Amigour Arieh Abir said: “The construction of 471 apartments in Ashkelon represents a turning point in the state’s approach to public housing and a setting-off point for the construction of thousands of additional apartments. Amigour is proud to be at the forefront of this effort.”

Acting Mayor of Ashkelon Tomer Glam said: “We hear a lot about public housing, and we—in partnership with Minister Gallant, The Jewish Agency, and Amigour—are also putting words into action. Today we lay the cornerstone of an unprecedented project that will put Ashkelon on the map when it comes to high-quality, advanced public housing. We have the privilege of showing leadership and responsibility toward the elderly, providing them with a high-quality, advanced, and dignified solution to all their needs.”

The project launched today in Ashkelon will include three twenty-story buildings, which will contain 471 apartments in total. The site will also include a senior citizens’ club, where residents will enjoy extensive activities, classes, holiday celebrations, field trips, cultural performances, and so on. The complex will also feature dozens of parking spaces, landscaped public spaces, a communal garden, and a playground that will be open to the public.

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