Exposé: Netanyahu governments have built the least

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s governments have built the least in Judea and Samaria, despite being widely portrayed as a right-wing coalition.

The Yesha Council released a damning set of statistics Tuesday, in concordancewith the Caucus for the Land of Israel, revealing the true pace of building in the region over more than 15 years.

The findings:

  • Public buildings depend on government policy, not supply/demand. A lack of consistent statistics appears to result from the ebb and flow of various governments, it noted, and policies can vary widely – ranging from just 91 public housing units built in the region per year to over 3,000. The average per year ranges between 440 and 1,600, a figure which fluctuates based on politics.
  • Private residences do depend on supply/demand. Meanwhile, the population of Judea-Samaria has steadily been growing.  While the number of units built every year still varies, the variance is much smaller: between 560 apartments in one year and close to 1,900 in another. Overall, the average stands between 800 – 1,600 units built per year – no matter which government is in session.
  • Netanyahu’s last three terms have seen the least construction in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria: 
    • Some 1,700 units were built every year during Netanyahu’s first term, in 1997-1999.
    • Under Ehud Barak (2001-2002), some 1,900 units were built per year.
    • Under Ariel Sharon (2002-2005), some 1,040 units were built per year.
    • Under Ehud Olmert (2006-2008), some 657 units were built per year.
    • Under Netanyahu’s last three terms (2009-2014), that number dropped to 440 units per year.
  • Population growth is steady, and could outpace construction. The Jewish population of Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem continues to grow at 4.9% per year, and has topped 400,000 as of November 2015. Of those, Judea-Samaria has gained 150,000 people over the past decade alone – an average of 15,000 per year.
  • Population growth in the region is now due to natural growth – i.e. reproductive power – not immigration, as it used to be. Past decades saw a tremendous movement to bring new immigrants to the area, leading to such phenomena as an overwhelmingly Russian population in Ariel, forexample. However, as of 2006, 60% of growth in Judea-Samaria was due to an increase in births, whereas just 40% was due to immigration; in 2014, those numbers were 75% and 25%, respectively.

Netanyahu has been operating a covert building freeze in the region since peace talks were launched in 2013, a fact he only openly admitted recently in comments leaked to the press.