Demand for Property in Israel's South Keep Rising Despite Fragile Security Situation
05:14 GMT 13.10.2021 (Updated: 09:22 GMT 05.12.2023)
The last round of tensions between Israel and Hamas has seen more than 4,000 rockets reaching Israeli towns and cities. But a resident of the country’s southern community says it hasn't swayed ordinary Israelis from purchasing property in the area.
It's been five months since Israel launched its operation in Gaza -- the Guardian of the Walls -- which aimed at putting an end to the indiscriminate rocket fire on its towns and cities that emanated from the Strip's terrorist groups.
During the eleven days of hostilities in May, Hamas and other groups have launched more than 4,000 rockets into Israel
, something that disrupted ordinary people's lives and paralyzed the country.
Some have even chosen to leave the area, which has long been associated with instability, but Or Bar Ilan, a resident of Kfar Gaza that's located only 1.4 kilometres away from the Strip and faces constant bombardment, says her community has a long waiting list despite the fragile security situation.
"The queues are so long that families are ready to live in small apartments that have initially been built for singles while they are waiting for bigger ones to become available," said Bar Ilan, who is involved in her community's administration.
"Even after the Guardian of the Walls we have received the applications of people who are willing to live here. Now, for example, there are 47 new units that are under construction and we already have a list of 70 people waiting for their chance to purchase them," she added.
Reasons Behind the Popularity
It is hard to explain the popularity behind the rising demand for properties in an area that has been getting a sporadic barrage of rockets since 2001.
Some would say it is because of the low property prices, as home values have seen a significant surge across Israel in the past ten years. Others would claim that the demand is triggered by the 20 percent tax reductions that are given to those who choose to live in the area
But Bar Ilan says that the main reason for the high demand is the warm community and the services that it provides.
"It is like living at a resort. Here kids can play in the vast green yards, the education system is amazing and the people are warm. We have a Whatsapp group and if anyone needs assistance with children, for example, there will always be somebody who will volunteer to help. Where can you find something like this in the city?"
Infrastructure wise, the area, which has largely been neglected in the past, has started to see slight changes.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who took office in mid-June, funds have been allocated to the construction of roundabouts, the erection of traffic lights and the fixing of existing roads that have been broadened and repaired.
But the security worries of the local residents have remained unresolved. Residents of the area are still facing sporadic attacks from the Gaza Strip and they still have less than half a minute to reach their bomb shelters, something that leads to trauma and fears.
Over the years, Israel's southern communities have learnt to adjust themselves to that reality. Multiple shelters were built and psychological help centres were established, but residents are still insisting that a long-lasting solution must be found.
"It is easy to spread pre-elections promises that a resolution can be reached but we realise it is a complicated matter and we do have a hope for a better future."
In recent days, it was reported that Israel and Hamas were holding a series of indirect talks through Egyptian mediators
It was also reported that Israel had come up with a reconstruction plan for Gaza in exchange for a long-lasting truce and had eased several restrictions, including the expansion of nautical miles and the admission of Palestinian workers into its territories, as first steps in the direction of rapprochement.
Last week, a top Hamas delegation visited Cairo as part of the mediation efforts and although no breakthrough has been achieved, Bar Ilan says she is still hoping that this time around, progress can be possible.