The largest social protests in Israel’s history were famously ignited in 2011 when 26-year-old Daphni Leef pitched a tent on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard, saying she could not find an affordable apartment. This move highlighted a problem that affects a wide swath of Israeli society: According to the Bank of Israel, the price of the average Israeli home has risen nearly 50% since December 2007 with rent prices also climbing sharply. Shatil has been fighting for affordable housing since before the protests began and continues to take a leading role in the struggle, working at both the national and local levels to influence policy and nurture local activism.
Coalition for Affordable Housing
In 2009, NIF established The Coalition for Affordable Housing, and Shatil continues to play a leading role in it. The Coalition aims to promote innovative solutions for affordable housing that will also address the needs of mixed-income neighborhoods. Shatil also regularly consults with groups across Israel who are working towards increased public housing, and in this regard has worked hard to connect the Coalition for Affordable Housing with grassroots activists. Shatil has offered many trainings on these issues tailored to the needs of different communities throughout the country, Haifa residents who are protesting the building of a stadium that would cause them to be removed from their homes, and older immigrants from the former Soviet Union in Rishon Letzion who want to live out their senior years without having to move out of their current homes.
Forum for Public Housing
Shatil coordinates the Forum for Public Housing and, together with the Forum, helped create a Knesset caucus for public housing, made up of Knesset members from across the political spectrum. Recently, the forum led a successful struggle against a government decision to annul Israel’s Public Housing Law, which enables public housing tenants to buy their apartments for a considerably reduced price, after renting them for many years.
Promoting Sustainable Housing Solutions
In addition to seeking changes in policies and regulations, Shatil works with residents of many different communities, assisting them to undertake proactive initiatives to find or build sustainable housing. For example, Shatil-facilitated groups in Lod and Haifa have created the first socially minded housing cooperatives in Israel’s Arab community.
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