Public housing solutions are provided by the Israeli government and are rented to citizens that are unable to afford a roof over their heads in the free market. In the last few decades, the system of Public Housing in Israel has gone down a fast deteriorating process of depletion and privatization. As a result, apartment inventory has gone down by 75%, which in turn lead to the hardening of criteria for entitlement and long waiting lists. In addition, most of the apartments are poorly maintained, and/or unfitting to their tenants' medical needs. The apartments are run by government and municipal companies that sometimes attach unexplained debts to the tenants, most of them leading to eviction, with no other housing solution at hand.
The late Moshe Silman burned himself to death at a social justice demonstration that took place in Tel-Aviv on July 14, 2012, in protest of his housing problems. In his suicide letter he elucidated his act by announcing, "I will not be homeless," and blamed the State of Israel for years of neglect and abuse. The mainstream media's approach to his act was to embrace the government and prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's motto claiming that "this was a personal tragedy." We, the Activestills Collective together with the "Public Housing Forum," set out to show that this "national tragedy." By photographing over 40 families from different cities across the country, we found that they were only the tip of the iceberg. In a worrisome economic downward spiral that Israel is facing, these are the people that are first to pay the price for the deliberate abolishment of welfare policies.
Photos: Yotam Ronen, Keren Manor, Oren Ziv, Shiraz Grinbaum
Editing: Anka Mirkin & Shiraz Grinbaum
Published on YNET & Haokets Magazine