A recent bill proposal is being promoted by Netanyahu, and would drastically alter the status of lands in Israel. The legal status of land in Israel is not simple matter. In a nutshell, 93% of the land in Israel is not privately owned (owned either by the state or JNF), but is leased by the state for 49-year leases. Administered by the Israel Land Administration (ILA), these leases are renewed nearly automatically.
Proponents of the bill say the ILA is a monopolistic, ineffective bureaucracy and hampers economic growth. Privatization, they claim, will make housing more affordable and promote overall transparency with regards to land use.
Critics, on the other hand, say that housing costs will actually rise. The most convincing argument against the proposed bill is a Zionist-ideological one. If land is simply sold to the highest bidder, Israeli law would allow enemies of Israel to purchase large swaths of Israel, essentially buying out Israel from under her.
As anyone who has had the misfortune of applying for an Israeli passport knows, Israeli bureaucracy is not customer friendly, to put it lightly. Reform is necessary, and in that respect Netanyahu’s plan is not all bad. However, the current bill, if approved, would cause a great deal of long-term harm to Israel.
That is not the only problem. Netanyahu has announced that any minister who votes against the bill will be fired. Bibi has experience in this matter, and his declaration should not be viewed as an idle threat.
Firing ministers in order to secure artificial majorities has , in the past, preceded horrendous decisions. Israel has already paid a high price for Sharon’s error, and cannot afford any additional mistakes.