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Lapid pushes plan to fix housing crisis

For the first time since he was elected, Finance Minister Yair Lapid has justified the trust placed in him by his voters and advanced his program to lower housing costs.
Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Jose Angel Gurria (R) speaks during a news conference with Israel's Finance Minister Yair Lapid in Tel Aviv December 8, 2013. Gurria was in Israel on Sunday to present the organisation's 2013 report on Israel's economy. The Bank of Israel should prepare for interest rate increases once the global economy returns to normal, the OECD said. REUTERS/ Nir Elias (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS) - RTX169RU
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It was one of the lowest points in Yair Lapid’s political career since he took over the Finance Ministry. In February, the chairman of Yesh Atid was ranked last in a poll of public satisfaction with each of the 23 ministers in the current government (including the most senior minister, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself). Before the last elections, Lapid emerged as the political hope of the “lost generation,” those many hundreds of thousands of Israelis who took to the streets in the summer of 2011 to demonstrate against the high cost of living and economic insecurity. Since then, Lapid has been forced to watch his supporters slip away from him.

In political terms, Lapid has been considered over the last few months a walking dead man. On the one hand, he still wields the enormous power that comes with 19 seats in the Knesset and the ability to topple the government. On the other, almost none of the public support that brought him there is left. Many of his voters felt desperate and deceived when they discovered that a year after he took office as the new finance minister, their ability to purchase an apartment was drifting further and further away, while the problem of the steep cost of living was only getting worse.

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