The High Court of Justice rejected the petition of the native Shoham residents entitled to “Series B” in Shoham

The judges emphasized that the purpose of the home-owner’s price program is to assist those with an entitlement to purchase an apartment, not necessarily in their place of residence; the decision brings an end to the gap regarding transitions of eligible individuals from different series in the future and opens said lottery in Shoham in favor of those eligible to Series A only

21.01.18| Dotan Levi

After months of legal hearings, the High Court of Justice, with a panel of three judges, ruled to reject the petition filed by native Shoham eligible to Series B in the home-owner’s price program living in Shoham, according to which they should be included in the lottery for native residents in Shoham although it was defined as a lottery intended only for those eligible for Series A.

Judges Noam Solberg, Yitzhak Amit, and David Mintz rejected the claims of those eligible to Series B and in effect enabled another lottery expected to take place in Shoham for the native residents. About a month ago, the court cancelled the temporary order that stopped the lottery, so that the rejection of the petition today is in fact only the official stage in the proceeding.

In the petition, the judges referred to the dispute regarding the eligibility that arose between those entitled to Series A and B, and noted, in favour of Series A holders, that they had long waited for the lottery of apartments in Shoham and had relied on their having a good chance to win in the lottery to purchase an apartment. They claimed that they had paid a price for being assigned to Series A because they had not registered for other lotteries, and accepting the petition would severely harm their chances of winning an apartment in the town.

To support their decisions, the judges referred to interpretation of the definitions of the home-owner’s price program, “The theory proposed by the petitioners that the purpose of the program is to assist those with an entitlement to purchase an apartment in their place of residence, is not accurate at all. The program is intended to assist the entitlement holders to purchase an apartment…Under the program, clear priority is given to the pool of entitlement holders who registered for the program in the first phase and belong to Series A, and only after that is preference to be given to a person defined as a native resident.”

The judges also referred to those eligible for Series B, saying: “At least some of the petitioners could have been included in Series A if they had submitted an application in time, but they did not do so.  Under these circumstances, they have no-one to blame other than themselves, and there is no basis for claims of deprivation and discrimination.”

They also said with some conviction: “We found that the distinction between those eligible for the different series, according to the date of registration for the program is a relevant distinction.” In conclusion, the judges also rejected the petitioners’ claim that this was the last of the land reserves in Shoham and explained that it had also been said in the past that land constituted the final reserve, but then agreements were formulated to receive land from nearby moshavim and additional neighborhoods were built for the town.

In the current tender in Shoham, a total of 573 apartments were advertised, of which 142 are earmarked for native residents, and for which 160 Series A holders registered. This means a very high probability of winning of almost 90%, so that the addition of Series B entitlement holders, whose number stands at 369, to the same number of apartments would have had a significant adverse effect on the chances of the Series A holders.

The residents holding Series A entitlement were represented by Attorneys Menachem Abramowitz and Eleanor Stark of law firm Hamburger Evron & Co.