It's funny that I just wrote that post today on absentee, or largely absentee homeowners in Israel. Jerusalem Post is covering the issue today, too. I think they stole my idea.
Jerusalem, as I said, is particularly afflicted with this problem. Essentially, rich American Jews buy a home in Jerusalem and leave it vacant for 11 months out of the year. They don't rent it out, they don't share it, and this has really driven up prices in the area.
Check out this article for the whole story. Here's an idea: Hook me up when I'm in the army. I'll only be there about two weekends out of a month! If you want to be a good fellow Jew, email "email@example.com" and let me just put my stuff in the closet! I'm a good guy, ask my mom!