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Housing crisis trumps security in looming Israeli vote

A woman walks past tents erected for a sit-in against the high cost of housing in Israel on March 2, 2015 on the Rothschild Boulevard in the Israeli city of Tel AvivDespite Benjamin Netanyahu’s best efforts to flag security as the biggest issue keeping Israelis awake at night, the reality is far more mundane. Netanyahu has based his reelection campaign solidly on security issues, namely his bid to derail an international effort to reach a deal with Iran that he says would pose a threat to Israel’s existence. “The housing problem is the most significant issue (in the election),” said Eitan Ben Eliezer, who lives with his wife Tal and their two small children in a rented flat on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Since taking office in 2009, the Israeli leader has failed to curb soaring house prices, which jumped by 55 percent between 2008 and 2013, according to figures in a damning report released last month by the state comptroller’s office.

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