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Homeless Occupy Absorption Center Despite Jewish Agency Housing Offer

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Twenty homeless families continue to occupy the Jewish Agency’s absorption center in Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood, which they seized over the weekend despite an offer to make housing units available to them.

The offer was made by Meir Shetreet, acting chairman of the World Zionist Organization Executive and treasurer of the Jewish Agency and the WZO.

He proposed that the agency would turn over 64 apartments at the center to the Housing Ministry. The ministry agreed to allot them to needy young couples at a public tender.

But the squatters refused to leave. After meeting with ministry officials Monday, they fortified themselves at the absorption center and insisted they would not leave until assured of proper housing.

No move was made to evict them.

They are typical of the hundreds of Israeli families made homeless by soaring rents.

Voice of Israel Radio meanwhile, reported Monday that a company in Luxembourg presented a plan to the government this week to build 60,000 new apartments in Israel, to be let at low rents.

According to the report, the apartments would be leased to the government, which would rent them at a deficit to low-income families.

A four-bedroom apartment would rent for under $300 a month, the radio report said.

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