At Tel Aviv housing fair, high demand for homes near Gaza

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Areas near Gaza emerged as highest in demand by prospective homeowners who participated in a survey of housing preferences in the Israel’s south and north.

In the survey about the south, which was conducted at a housing fair last month, a total of 98 families indicated they would like to move to one of the two districts which are adjacent to the Gaza Strip and are routinely targeted by Hamas terrorists.

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The area that came out as second-highest in demand after Regional Council Eshkol and Sha’ar HaNegev was the Eilat region with 57 families, followed by Be’er Sheva with 31 families.

The survey was conducted at a fair held last month by the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee in Tel Aviv, which drew 3,000 visitors.

In total, 217 families listed areas outside the two heavily-targeted regional council as their first choice. Of the families who prefer to move to the more heavily targeted regions, 56 indicated they would like to live in Sderot, Ofakim or Netivot — towns which have received thousands of Qassam rockets from Gaza over the past few years.

During Israel’s war with Hamas last summer, terrorists fired countless rockets and mortar rounds at population centers near the Gaza Strip but some rockets also hit the Tel Aviv region and even north of it.

In a survey on housing preferences in northern Israel, the Golan Heights emerged as most popular with 140 families out of 514 indicating it as their first choice.

Though Israel regards it as its own territory, the Golan Heights is internationally considered occupied territory that Israel took from Syria. Israeli settlements on its territory are considered illegal.

Like houses in the West Bank, real estate in the Galilee and Golan in Israel’s north and the Negev in the South are considerably cheaper than property in Israel’s crowded center.

“Some families want to move to these places to improve their quality of living,” Sigal Shaltiel Halevi, director of the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee, told the news site “But there are also ideological considerations, leading people to settle in areas which are important to the State of Israel,” she added.