Your article on the lack of affordable housing in Jerusalem offered an evenhanded review of the issues (“Jerusalem Is Becoming A Ghost Town,’” Jan. 6). As a Queens resident who owns an apartment in Jerusalem, I can reiterate the sentiment that it is absurd to expect a large number of absentee owners to rent their Jerusalem apartments to strangers.
Additionally, increasing the tax on vacant apartments will probably not raise adequate funds to create affordable housing, not to mention the difficulty in determining which apartments are totally, as opposed to partially, vacant.
The focus must be on creating affordable housing in Jerusalem. Large cities such as New York have a host of programs that offer incentives to developers to create and manage these residences. Whether via tax incentives, low-interest construction loans, or other subsidies, Mayor Nir Barkat of Jerusalem and the Israeli Ministry of Housing must involve developers in this venture.
These programs have succeeded for many years in large cities throughout the United States. With some effort, the same can be done in Jerusalem.
Jamaica Estates, Queens