U.S.-Israel Agree to Housing Cooperation

(June 22, 2000)

Facing increased economic disparities between high-technology areas and failing industrial zones, the U.S. and Israel are confronting similar problems in this new information age. One of the problems affecting both countries is providing basic education and housing needs for underprivileged populations.

On June 22, 2000, Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary, and Yitzhak Levi, Israel’s Construction and Housing Minister, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and Israel. A new Binational Commission on Housing and Community Development will be formed to deal with issues of sustainable urban development and will be funded by HUD’s policy and research development budget. Issues include: policy research, affordable housing programs, urban revitalization strategies, construction technology, community/economic development programs, mortgage financing and other areas of mutual interest.

HUD secretary Cuomo and Interior Minister Natan Sharansky discussed setting up sister cities between the U.S. and Israel and hope to share these experience on federal-city relations.

Both Israel and the U.S. will gain much from this cooperation. Israel will learn about U.S. strategies related to mortgage financing, federal subsidies and tax credits that could be used to improve Israel’s housing market and Israel’s current system of providing housing for new immigrants. The U.S. hopes to gain insight into historic preservation, which would preserve many of U.S. cultural sites found in major cities.

Text of Agreement