Mr. Ze'ev Sharef, the Israeli Housing minister, last week toured sites in Jerusalem where new?
Mr. Ze'ev Sharef, the Israeli Housing minister, last week toured sites in Jerusalem where new blocks of apartments are quickly rising.
He told newsmen who accompanied him that 24,000 new housing units have been built or have been started since--nearly half again as many homes as there were in the Israeli half of the city before 1967.
Many of the new apartments are in a project which straddles the former Green Line that divided the city until the 1967 war. There have been complaints from Arabs about Israeli building on land taken in the 1967 hostilities.
The first residents will move into the largest development, called Gilo, in January. It is built on a ridge the same height as mount Scopus--eight kilometres (five miles) away--but architect Avraham Yasri has stepped the buildings to mould into the contours of the slope, with occasional 14-story towers as what he calls "visual focal points." Another development, Ramot, caused considerable controversy when the original plans for 10,000 homes were announced, and the project was subsequently reduced to 8,000 units, with land set aside for a sports and creation area.
SYNOPSIS: New buildings are springing up in Jerusalem. The Israeli housing ministry has announced that twenty-four thousand homes have been built or started since 1967--that's nearly half the total number of homes in the old Israeli sector. But there's some disquiet over using land taken in the 1967 hostilities.
This is the Gilo project. Eventually there will be thirty-two thousand homes here, laid out to blend into the hillside.
Housing Minister Ze'ev Sharef toured with journalists round the housing sites last week. Among them was this site, Ramot, which caused considerable controversy when the original plans were announced. They called for the construction of ten thousand homes here. But after a public outcry, when people said the development would spoil one of Jerusalem's loveliest views, the project was reduced to sight thousand homes.
The first occupants will start moving in late next year.