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American Financing, Mass Production Can Aid Israel’s Housing Shortage

A combination of American financing and American mass-production methods can alleviate Israel’s acute housing shortage according to Jack D. Weller, the American realtor who is a member of the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors and chairman of its housing committee. In a special interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Weiler said new housing projects in Israel will soon be financed by loans obtained from banks and insurance companies abroad. He said that in the next 12 months $50-$100 million may be raised for this purpose. The money would go toward building houses and the investment will be safeguarded in the form of mortgages allocated by the Finance Ministry at rates much lower than those now prevailing in Israel.

Weiler took issue with Housing Minister Zeev Sharef’s criticism of his plan to produce “mobile homes” in Israel for young, newly married couples. Mobile homes are built in factories and transported to their permanent site. Weiler said such homes fully furnished and equipped would provide 70 square meters of space and would cost less than half of what similar houses now cost in Israel. Sharef had contended that Israel’s roads and transportation facilities were not sufficiently developed for the mass movement of mobile homes.

Weiler told the JTA that the builders who proposed the idea had not asked the Housing Ministry for money. Half of the amount would be their own investment or be paid by the new owners and half would be in a mortgage to be arranged by the builder. Weiler said a single factory could turn out such Louses at the rate of one an hour and they would take only one day to install. Weiler praised Israel’s efforts to ease the housing shortage. He observed that 31,000 dwelling units will be available to Israelis and new immigrants this year whereas in New York City with a population three-and-a-half times as large as Israel, only 16,000 units will be built.

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