A senior government official said Thursday that Israel had given grants totaling over $40 million to emergency landlords, and that more than 70 percent of the apartments would be rented by July, a week before the deadline.
“We are giving out grants in order to help the emergency housing community to survive,” said Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, who is also the prime minister.
He said the grants would be distributed to landlords who were not part of the government’s Emergency Housing Authority, which manages more than 30,000 rental apartments across the capital.
“Our aim is to give the homeless and the elderly the possibility to stay in the area where they live,” Yaalon said.
“But we do not want to exclude anyone.
If they are unable to stay here, they will be able to find accommodation elsewhere.”
Renters who were already living in government housing were able to obtain government-issued permits to rent apartments from July 1, he said, and all other applicants will be turned away.
Yaalon stressed that there was no requirement for landlords to be registered with the authority.
“This is not a government policy,” he said.
“It is an issue of personal responsibility, of self-preservation.”
The government says that between 200,000 and 300,000 Israelis live in emergency housing, though some have complained of a lack of housing available to them.
In the past, the government has been hesitant to allocate large sums of money to landlords, fearing they could be used to support anti-Semitic groups and push Palestinians out of the West Bank.
The government has also sought to ease the financial burden of providing emergency housing for homeless Israelis by offering vouchers to landlords.