Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Non-Accidental Tourist

Omer Yaniv
Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research

Jerusalem is considered the most popular city in Israel for visitors from abroad, serving as a tourist destination with important religious and historical significance. The city has religious value for Jews, Muslims, and Christians, as well as an enormous variety of evidence and relics from different historical eras. According to data of the Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2015 about 3.1 million tourists and day-visitors entered Israel. A survey on incoming tourism conducted by the Ministry of Tourism found that 75% of the visitors to Israel during that year traveled to Jerusalem – the highest percentage among Israel’s cities.
The Old City of Jerusalem is regarded as the primary attraction for tourists from abroad, and most of the city’s popular tourist sites are located within or around the Old City. Among the main tourist sites, the Western Wall had the highest percentage of foreign tourists in 2015, at 70%. The Jewish Quarter was in second place, at 65%. Other popular tourist sites in Jerusalem include the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (49% of foreign visitors to Israel), Via Delarosa (41%), and the Mount of Olives overlook (39%). Many visitors come to these sites for religious reasons, as they are holy to Christianity and Judaism (in 2015 only 7% of Israel’s tourists from abroad visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is holy to Muslims). The geographical proximity of Jerusalem’s main tourist sites boosts their popularity because it allows visitors to cover the Old City and surrounding sites within a few hours.
Examining the percentage of visitors at tourist sites by country reveals that for most countries, the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter had the highest percentages of visitors. Overall, according to the Ministry of Tourism survey on incoming tourism, the percentage of European visitors to these sites is lower than the percentage of visitors from other continents. The survey found that in 2015, 96% of visitors from South and Central America traveled to Jerusalem, as did 91% of visitors from African countries, 89% of visitors from North America, and 79% of visitors from Asia. In contrast, only 69% of visitors from European countries traveled to Jerusalem in 2015.

Translation: Merav Datan

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Mobile Reception

Lior Regev
Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies

Lately, with the increased use of smart phones, the cellular device is playing a growing part in our lives. Our dependency on cell phones has sky rocketed, with its diversity of uses. Hananel Rosenberg, from the Institute for the Study of New Media, Politics and Society at Ariel University, mentions some of them, including news, entertainment, games, calendar, documents, transit times, navigation, social networks, and of course – talking.

Ownership rate of cell phones in Israel is high by any standard. According to the Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem 2016 (table VI/4), 91% of households in Israel had at least one mobile phone in 2014. The data for the large cities are slightly higher with 93%, 96% and 98% in Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv, respectively. Data do not exist specifically regarding smart phones, but estimations of ownership rate vary between 64% and 72%.
One situation that some of us may recall, perhaps from army service, is the search for an area with good cellular reception. Lack of reception is common in far away areas, but it might also be encountered in a central area, and even in the middle of town. The common desire for good cellular coverage comes with ambivalence, as the radiation from antennas and devices is a major health concern, mainly with children.
According to the Ministry for Environmental Protection, as of January 2016, active broadcasting cellular antennas in Israel numbered 8,696. Among the large cities, Tel Aviv had the widest coverage, supplied by 939 antennas. Jerusalem, with a much larger land area, had 673; Haifa had 391; and Rishon LeZion had 228. It may be assumed that the concentration of businesses and economic strength of Tel Aviv led to the good cellular coverage.
The break down according to cellular companies, or carriers, reveals that the three major companies—Partner, Pelephone, and Cellcom—had similar shares of the antennas infrastructure: 29%, 28%, and 27%, respectively. Hot Mobile held 15% of the antennas, and Golan Telecom had one percent, almost only in Tel Aviv.
The distribution is somewhat similar in the large cities: In Jerusalem Cellcom holds the largest share of 29% of active antennas, with Partner and Pelephone holding 28% and 26% respectively; in Tel Aviv and Haifa, Partner holds a bit of a wider share, with 32% and 31% respectively; Cellcom and Pelephone hold 28% and 25% of Haifa's antennas, respectively, and both companies each hold 24% of Tel Aviv's antennas.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Households and Religiosity

Yair Assaf-Shapira
Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies

Every year, on the occasion of "Jerusalem Day", the Jerusalem Institute publishes the annual Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem. The yearbook is the main data source on the city, and as such, it's used regularly by the writers of this column.
We tend to thoroughly examine population (persons) data, but today I want to look at household (HH) data. When trying to estimate demand for housing as well as for other services, HH data is sometimes more important than persons data.
There are 2.3 million HHs in Israel, and 210,100 of them live in Jerusalem. Jerusalem's share of HHs in Israel is lower than its share of population (8.8% compared with 10%), due to the relatively large HH size in the capital (3.9 persons compared with 3.3 in Israel). The balance between the Jewish and Arab HHs is also different than the populations balance, and the Jewish HHs form 71% of the total HHs, compared with 63% of the population.
Household size in Jerusalem may be large on average, but still, 38% of the HHs are of one or two persons only. These HHs include Jerusalem's many students and other young adults. Among the Jewish HHs this figure rises to 47%, or almost half of the HHs, slightly higher even than the figure for the Jewish HHs in Israel (46%). With such a high percentage of small HHs, it may be asked how come the average HH size in the city is larger than in Israel. The answer lies in the high percentage of HHs sized 7 persons and above in Jerusalem (15%, compared with 5.9% in Israel).
As of this yearbook, thanks to changes in the Labor Force Survey held by the Central Bureau of Statistics, data is available about the breakdown of the HHs by religious affiliation. Among the Jewish HHs, the secular and traditional HHs form 45%, the "very religious" and Ultra-orthodox form 33%, and the observant (religious) HHs, 22%. Among the Arab HHs, traditional and secular HHs form 64% (the majority of whom stated they were traditional), and observant (together with a very small percentage of "very religious") HHs, form 36%.