Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Eitan Bluer

Sixty six percent of households in Israel own the apartment in which they reside, a high number in comparison with other OECD countries. Reasons for this include, but are not limited to, the sense of security that accompanies property ownership and other psychological factors, and other government incentives. The percentage of homeowners in Jerusalem (to the inclusion of apartment-owners) is somewhat lower than the national average in Israel: 59% and 66%, respectively. Of cities in Israel with a population that exceeds 100,000, those with the highest percentage of homeowners were Rishon Lezion (73%), Holon (71%) and Bnei Brak (71%). As can be seen in the graph below, the percentage of homeowners in Jerusalem is also lower than the rates found in localities in metropolitan Jerusalem.

In 2008, the percentage of households in Jerusalem who were renting an apartment was 32%, as compared to a national average of 26%. Of cities in Israel with a population that exceeds 100,000, Tel-Aviv, Ramat Gan and Bat Yam had the highest percentage of renters, with 48%, 38% and 33%, respectively. The remaining households were living under other arrangements such as subsidized rent, assisted living, etc. In Jerusalem, they accounted for 8% of all households, a percentage that was comparable to the national average and the average in Tel-Aviv (8% and 7%, respectively).

The Geographic distribution of renters and homeowners in a city is taken into consideration by urban planners and decision makers in development plans, programs to make housing affordable, etc. The geographical distribution of renters and homeowners is influenced by multiple economic and demographic factors, including the differential in housing prices across neighborhoods (central vs. peripheral neighborhoods), as well as quality of life, demographic factors and other socio-economic factors (for example: the average age of residents, professional development, etc.). In 2008, the neighborhoods of Jerusalem with the highest percentage of homeowners were Har Homa (87%), Ramat Shlomo (77%), Pisgat Zeev (74%), and Neve Yaakov (74%), and those with the highest percentage of renters were City Center (70%), Nahlaot (62%), Rehavia (54%), and French Hill (47%).

Source: 2008 Census, Israel CBS

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Back to School

Michal Korach

The new academic school year was opened a few weeks ago and tens of thousands of students have returned to their studies. In the past academic year of 2009-2010, there were 244,100 students in Israel, not including the Open University and branches of foreign universities operating in Israel. Of them, 51% were enrolled in universities, 38% in academic colleges and 11% in teaching academic colleges.

Higher education in Israel has been undergoing extensive reforms since the 1990s following a series of reforms instituted by the Israel Council of Higher Education (MALAG) designed to increase access to higher education. As part of these reforms, college-preparatory schools and academic colleges were established, many of them outside of the large metropolitan areas.

Over the past decade the number of students in academic colleges has almost tripled (172%) whereas the number of students in universities and teaching academic colleges has increased at a much slower rate (10% and 17% respectively). Overall, the number of students enrolled in institutions of higher education has increase by 43%.

Academic colleges in Israel may be either public or private. Private colleges are not budgeted by the state, charge higher tuition and generally have lower admission requirements as compared with universities. Private colleges generally offer programs that are in high-demand such as law, economics, business administration, computer science and behavioral sciences.

The estimates for institutions of higher education in Jerusalem are 40,000 students, of which half are enrolled at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Other large advanced schools in Jerusalem are Machon Lev, Betzalel, Hadassah College and the Jerusalem College of Engineering.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nature and Parks

Michal Korach

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority oversees 67 sites in Israel, all of them open to the public, some free of charge. In 2008, these national parks saw 7.9 million visitors, of which 68 percent were Israelis and 32 percent were foreigners. The number of visitors to Israel's national parks has been growing steadily. It has more than doubled in less than 10 years, from 3.7 million visitors in 2001, to 6.1 million in 2005 to 7.9 million in 2008.
The parks in northern and southern Israel received the greatest number of visitors (40% and 27%, respectively), but this could be explained by the fact that these districts are the largest and have more national parks and thus had a greater influx of tourists. In fact, some 75% of all of Israel's national parks are found in the North and South. The Jerusalem District, which contains the Judea and Samaria region, received 12% of all visits to Israeli national parks.
The data clearly shows that tourists prefer parks with natural water sources. The most popular nature parks were the Banyas Springs, Ein Gedi and Beit Yanai Beach. The most popular historical sites were Masada, Caesarea and Qumran.
The Jerusalem district has nine national nature and historical sites, which received 944,600 visitors in 2008 - 43% of them foreign. The most popular nature site in the Jerusalem region was Absalom (stalactite) Cave, which was visited by 198,000 people that year, most of them Israelis. The most popular historical site, Qumran, was visited by 389,300 people, most of them foreigners.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Young Adults

Eitan Bluer

Research has shown that a young population holds the potential to introduce urban renewal and local economic growth. It is therefore beneficial to map out the distribution of young adults in Jerusalem and to identify future trends in an effort to gauge the state of the city and to plan for its future. Jerusalem is currently one of the youngest cities in Israel because of the high percentage of children, but it is actually within the national range in terms of its young adult population (ages 20-34). At the end of 2008, residents of Jerusalem between the ages of 20 and 34 accounted for 22% of the city’s population (170,000), the same percentage as in Haifa - 22% (57,000) and similar to the national rate of 23% (1,665,000), but substantially less than Tel Aviv’s rate of 30% (116,000). Mapping the neighborhoods in Jerusalem which boast the highest percentages of residents in their 20s and 30s may aid policy planning and planning services and infrastructures specifically tailored for their needs such as bus lines that service leisure centers, higher education, etc. In contrast to what one might think, Jerusalem’s 20 and 30 year-olds are not concentrated around Jerusalem’s City Center but, in fact, are spread out throughout the city in a rate similar to their distribution in the population. That is to say that Jerusalem’s largest neighborhoods have the largest numbers of residents aged 20-34. In 2008, 9,500 were living in Ramot (5.5% of Jerusalem’s population of young adults), another 9,300 were living in Pisgat Ze’ev (5.5%), 8,400 (5%) were living in Shuafat, and 8,000 in the Old City (5%).

The number of residents aged 20-34 as a percentage of a neighborhood’s population is a useful indicator that can provide information about the neighborhood’s makeup and potential for urban renewal. In 2008, the neighborhoods of Jerusalem which had the highest number of young professionals as a percentage of their total population were the City Center and French Hill (37%), Nahlaot (32%), Rehavia (30%), and Kiryat Yovel (27%). These neighborhoods also enjoyed the largest number of incoming, new residents between the ages of 20 and 34. In some neighborhoods, including City Center, Rehavia and Nahlaot, between 65% and 68% of the incoming residents were between the ages of 20 and 34, and in Talbiyeh and French Hill the numbers reached 53% and 50% respectively.

Friday, October 1, 2010

An Israeli Vacation

Aviel Yelinek

Many Israelis take time during the Tishrei Holiday season to vacation in Israel and abroad. The long lines at the passport renewal offices at the Ministry of Interior and at the passport control counters at Ben Gurion Airport give rise to a general feeling that many spend the holidays vacationing overseas. In truth, however, there are many more who spend their holidays in Israel. Data from the 2008 Social Survey conducted by the Israel CBS indicate that some 51% of Israelis (ages 20 and over) vacationed overnight in Israel (during the 12 months that preceded the interview) compared with 31% of Israelis who vacationed abroad.

CBS Social Survey data indicate a correlation between the degree of religious observance and the likelihood of vacationing in Israel: in 2008, 58% of secular Jewish Israelis had vacationed in Israel during the preceding year as compared with 55% of National- Religious Israelis and 46% of Ultra-Orthodox Israelis.

Not surprisingly, one’s financial situation would affect one’s decision whether to take a vacation. The 2008 Social Survey indicates that 68% of Israelis citizens who reported that they were extremely content with their personal financial situation had vacationed in Israel during the preceding year, compared with only 58% of those who reported mild content with their personal financial situation, 44% of those who reported that they were not-so-pleased with their situation and 23% of those who said they were extremely displeased with their situation.

A comparison across Israel’s central cities reveals that 48% of
Jerusalem’s residents vacationed in Israel in 2008 compared to 55% of Tel Aviv residents, 53% of Rishon Lezion residents, 52% of Ashdod residents and 47% of Haifa residents.

There are is an obvious disparity within the city of Jerusalem itself between the percentages of the Jewish residents of the city who vacation in Israel compared with their Arab neighbors: 59% of Jerusalem’s Jewish population vacationed in Israel in 2008 as compared with only 24% of Jerusalem’s Arab population.

Friday, September 17, 2010

With Days Like This...

Michal Korach

The holiday season, with the family gatherings and meals it occasions, not infrequently intensifies feelings of loneliness and depression, stress and anger. ERAN Emotional Crisis Hotline was created to offer support to anyone experiencing such feelings of distress. ERAN operates a phone hotline (which can be reached from any phone with the universal number 1201) and an internet live emergency help center, both anonymous and strictly confidential. ERAN was first set up in 1971 by Maria-Berta Zasleni in memory of her late husband, the psychiatrist, Arie Zasleni. The first center was situated in Mrs. Zasleni’s home. By 1983, four more centers had been established in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beer Sheva and Netanya, which were operated by the cities municipalities. In 1983 the independent emotional first aid centers united to form a national organization.

At present, ERAN operates in ten locations throughout Israel: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beer Sheva, Netanya, Kfar Saba, Carmiel, Hadera, Rishon Lezion and Nazareth. ERAN’s 24-hour hotline is the organization’s primary service. The hotline operates in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic and Russian, and is available to any individual seeking emotional first aid, coming from any background. There are two additional, specialized centers, one for soldiers and another for the elderly. The hotlines are operated by volunteers who come from diverse professional backgrounds and who undergo extensive, professional training before taking on their posts in the call center.

ERAN received 135,000 calls in 2009 – 58% of them from women. A break down of the calls reveals that the leading motivations for calling the center were: loneliness (24%), mental illness (19%), relationship difficulties (9%), interpersonal difficulties (7%), parent-child relationship difficulties (6%) and depression (6%).
Among the soldiers who called the center, the leading causes for calling the hotline were sexual identity issues (12%), trauma or anxiety (7%), sexual problems (6%) and sexual assault (4%). Among the population of elderly callers, the leading causes for calling were loneliness (52%) and interpersonal relationship problems (12%). In the Arab sector, the leading issues were relationship difficulties (51%) and loneliness (42%).

Friday, September 3, 2010

Youth Movements

Dr. Maya Choshen

"If there are still places where collective goals are still emphasized rather than only egotistic-individualism, then those are among our youth movements” (Aharon Yadlin, 1993). Tirza Goldstein in her 2007 research into the leisure-time activities of young adults in Jerusalem has pointed to a clear link between being a member of a youth movement and active and participatory citizenship and volunteering. In 2010, there were eleven Jewish youth movements operating in Jerusalem – 4 secular movements (Hamachanot Ha'olim, Hashomer Hatzair, Hano'ar Ha'oved Vehalomed, the Scouts), 1 conservative youth movement (Noam), 2 3 National-Religious movements (Bnei Akiva, Ezra and Ariel) and 4 3 Ultra-Orthodox movements (Bnot Batya, Degel Yerushalayim, and Heichalei Oneg and Ezra). After a short dip in the number of active members experienced between 2007 and 2008, the number of youth movement members steadily grew from 32,400 in 2008, to 34,300 in 2009, to its current peak at 37,200 in 2010. Overall, between the years 2008 and 2010, the number of members in Jerusalem’s youth movements saw a 15% increase: the secular youth movements saw the largest increase (20%), and they were closely followed by the Ultra-Orthodox movements (a 1917% increase) and the conservative movement, Noam (a 13% increase). The National-Religious movements, which experienced a 2.53% decrease in membership rates between the years 2008 and 2009 followed by a 4% increase between the years 2009 and 2010, maintained their size overall between the years 2008 and 2010. The National-Religious youth movements were the last to recover from their drop in membership rates.

All of the data brought in this column is taken from data compiled by the Department of Community Services in the Jerusalem Municipality. The Jerusalem Municipality uses the data on the number of members in each youth movement to allocate funds proportionally among the different youth movements. In the early 2000’s, the Jerusalem Municipality developed a system for distributing funds on the basis of detailed reports submitted directly by the youth movements and subject to auditing by the Department of Community Services.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Master Plan for Jerusalem's Ultra-Orthodox Schools

In December 2009, a master plan for Jerusalem's Ultra-Orthodox schools was published. The master plan, which was prepared by KESHET Inc. – Planning Services, was commissioned by the Jerusalem Municipality to assess future needs and to identify buildings and grounds that can be used for classrooms and school facilities so that the city will be able to provide the education needs of its Ultra-Orthodox students by the year 2020. With an already existing shortage of classrooms today, the shortage is expected to increase as the number of students grows.
For the preparation of the master plan, Ultra-Orthodox school enrollment projections for Jerusalem were calculated on the basis of the neighborhoods of Jerusalem which either currently have or are projected to have a sizable Ultra-Orthodox population by 2020. Students enrollment projections are used to project future demand for classroom facilities. The study also included a survey of current school enrollment and facilities and of available land that might be used for building new schools to serve the Ultra-Orthodox educational system.

In 2005, which was used as the scale mark for the study, school enrollment in the Ultra-Orthodox educational system (for children aged 6-17) was approximately 55,800 – 67% of those students lived in neighborhoods with an Ultra-Orthodox majority. Another 15% of them lived in areas that are "switching over," i.e., areas where the percentage of Ultra-Orthodox as a percentage of the total population is steadily increasing. Another 4% commuted to school from outside of Jerusalem. Only 9% of students enrolled in Ultra-Orthodox schools were residents of other neighborhoods of Jerusalem. (The addresses of 6% were unknown.)

According to the estimates of the master plan, 69,400 students will be enrolled in Ultra-Orthodox schools in Jerusalem by 2020. Neighborhoods of Jerusalem which are expected to have the largest number of school-aged children (ages 6-17) enrolled in Ultra-Orthodox schools are: Ramot Alon with an estimated 8,300 students, Romema-Komuna – 8,200 students, and Ramat Shlomo – 8,100 students.

In order to provide adequate schooling facilities by 2020, the Ultra-Orthodox educational system in Jerusalem will need three new special education schools and an additional 600 classrooms with an area of 77,000 sq m.

Source: Jerusalem Municipality, Master Plan for Ultra-Orthodox Educational
Facilities, December 2009, prepared by KESHSET Inc. – Kidum Sherutei Tichnun


City Sponsors

Yair Assaf-Shapira

"The Government shall provide for the development and prosperity of Jerusalem and the well-being of its inhabitants by allocating special funds, including a special annual grant to the Municipality of Jerusalem (Capital City Grant)." These responsibilities are listed in the Jerusalem Basic Law. To what extent, then, is Jerusalem dependent on national funding, and to what degree is it fiscally self-sufficient?

In 2008, Israel's government contributed approximately one billion NIS to the ordinary budget of the Jerusalem Municipality (in addition to another 208 million NIS allocated to Jerusalem outside of the ordinary budget). The city of Jerusalem was the largest recipient of national funding of all of Israel's cities, and it also enjoyed high municipal tax revenues. Municipal tax revenues, also known as Major General Fund tax revenues, are collected from taxes and fees that are paid directly to the city such as the Arnona property tax, service fees, business licenses and other taxes. The larger the share that municipal tax revenues play in the city's annual budget, the more the city can be said to be self-sufficient and independent of the central government, and vice versa.

Jerusalem's tax revenues reached 2.18 billion NIS in 2008 – more than any other local authority in Israel that year, with the single exception of Tel Aviv - Yafo (3.42 billion NIS). Haifa, by comparison, the third largest city in Israel after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv - Yafo, collected 1.41 billion NIS. Jerusalem's high municipal tax revenues are undoubtedly connected to its sheer size as the largest city in Israel.

Jerusalem's tax revenues covered 68% of its ordinary budget – a percentage that was significantly higher than any other local authority in the Jerusalem district, excepting one small locality, Har Adar. However, 68% was still low in comparison with Haifa (71%) and Tel Aviv - Yafo (88%). All local authorities in Israel rely on national funding in addition to their self-generated municipal tax revenues for their ordinary budget.

The primary source of self-generated income in all Israeli cities is the Arnona property tax imposed on residential and non-residential properties. In 2008, the city of Jerusalem collected 1.41 billion NIS in property tax (Arnona), as compared with 2.32 billion NIS collected by Tel Aviv - Yafo and 945 million NIS collected by Haifa. Comparatively speaking, residential property taxes accounted for a larger share of Jerusalem's total property tax revenues in comparison with Haifa or Tel Aviv - Yafo, and in 2008, 47% of Jerusalem's Arnona tax revenues were accrued from residential properties.

Source: Central Bureau of Statistics, Press release from 28/04/2010: Local Authorities in Israel 2008

Friday, August 20, 2010


Michal Korach

The moshav is a type of collective village unique to Israel. It operates as an economic cooperative, in which each member family owns a plot of land, primarily intended for agricultural purposes. Today, moshav residents include people who are not members of the cooperative. There are two types of moshav – the collective smallholder's settlementd the workers cooperative settlement; most moshavim are of the latter type. The first moshav, Nahalal, was established in northern Yizre'el Valley in 1921. The second moshav, Kfar Yecheszkel, was also established in the Yizre'el Valley.

At the close of 2008, there were 440 moshavim of both kinds in Israel, which were home to 258.1 thousand people – approximately 4% of Israel’s population. The population of moshavim in Israel has increased over the past decades from 130.0 thousand people in 1972 to 168.5 thousand in 1991 to 258.1 thousand in 2008. Over the past twenty years, moshavim have undergone extensive demographic and other changes that were largely instigated by an overhaul in government policy that allowed formerly agricultural lands to be used for other residential, commercial and industrial uses.

The data for 2008 shows that 33% of moshavim were located in central Israel, 27% in northern Israel, 25% in southern Israel and 9% in the District of Jerusalem. While the geographic spread of moshavim throughout the country is impressive, it is nevertheless true that the average number of residents in moshavim in central Israel is approximately 800 compared with 500 in the South and the North, and 300 in Judea and Samaria. Three moshavim, Orah, Aminadav and Beit Zayit, border the municipal borders of Jerusalem. The Matte Yehuda Regional Council, located to the west of the capital, is home to 41 moshavim (including the three aforementioned), which had 22.8 thousand residents in 2008.

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's Wedding Season Again

According to Jewish tradition, the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot (the count of the omer) are a time of mourning during which it is customary not to cut or shave one's hair or perform weddings. Among Mizrahi Jews, it is customary to get married after the 33rd day of the omer, but among the more stringent Ashkenazi communities it is customary to marry only after Shavuot, with the exception of only a few days – the day before the 33rd day of the Omer and the beginnings of the new months during the omer. Consequently, Shavuot marks the beginning of wedding season which lasts until the fall.

In 2007, the median age at first marriage for men in Israel (i.e., 50% of bridegrooms are older and 50% younger than the median age) was 27.8. The median age at marriage varies by religious affiliation and was 26.0 among Muslims, 26.4 among Druze, 27.6 among Jews and 29.1 among Christians.
Generally speaking, brides tend to be younger than bridegrooms. The median age at first marriage for women in Israel was 24.8 – 20.7 among Muslims, 21.4 among Druze, 24.1 among Christians and 25.3 among Jews.

A longitudinal comparison shows a steady rise of the median age at marriage. In 1980, the median age at first marriage for Jewish men was 24.8; by 2007 it was 27.6. Similarly, the median age at first marriage for Jewish women was 22.0 in 1980 but 25.3 in 2007. The rise of the median age at marriage can be attributed, among other factors, to the growing desire to achieve higher education and professional development before getting married and having kids.

In 2008, 55% of people aged 15 or older both in Israel and in Jerusalem were married. Of localities with populations of 10,000 or more, Tel Aviv (43%), Eilat (45%), and Be'er Ya'akov (47%) had the lowest percentage of married individuals. Of the ten localities with the highest percentage of married individuals, 4 were Ultra-Orthodox localities and 3 more were national-religious. The highest percentage of married individuals – 81%-85% -- was found in Talmon (a small, national-religious community) as well as Elad, Modi'in Illit and Beitar Illit, 3 heavily Ultra-Orthodox localities.

The percentage of married individuals in a locality, it should be noted, is influenced by social or cultural factors as well as other factors, such as the age of the population (as in, for example, a high proportion of individuals between the ages of 15-24).

Mazal Tov!

Sources: Population and Housing Census 2008, Statistical Abstract of Israel 2008, Central Bureau of Statistics

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Work in the city

Yair Assaf-Shapira
The vast majority of persons employed in Jerusalem are also residents of Jerusalem. Of the 249,000 people who were employed in Jerusalem in 2008, 75% were also residents of Jerusalem and only 25% were commuting to work from outside of Jerusalem – the lowest percentage among Israel's four metropolitan cities (Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beer Sheva and Jerusalem).
In general, men are considered to have longer commutes to work than women, who are considered to work closer to home. On the basis of this assumption, the reasonable expectation would be that a larger proportion of the women employed in Jerusalem would also be residents of Jerusalem, an expectation which is in fact correct for Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beer Sheva. However, in Jerusalem, the situation is in fact the reverse: of the 114,000 women who were employed in Jerusalem in 2008, 27% resided outside of the city compared with only 24% of the 135,000 men who worked in Jerusalem. That is to say that Jerusalem's economy drew more women than men from outside the city.
Among women as among men, Tel Aviv exercised the greatest pull: 66% of men and 60% of women working in Tel Aviv were residents of other localities.
But what about the mirror question – how many residents commute to work outside of their city of residence? In 2008, 17,400 of Jerusalem's residents were employed outside of Jerusalem, of them 12,400 men and 5,000 women. The number of Tel Aviv and Haifa residents who worked outside of their city of residence was much greater – 63,100 in Tel Aviv and 29,300 in Haifa.
Jerusalem differs from Tel Aviv and Haifa in its urban structure, as the two central cities are surrounded by rings of cities and localities that support and are supported by their central job markets and form a metropolitan model that depends on a daily commute to work. While there is a metropolitan Jerusalem area, it does not include any other close, large cities and is no longer linked to Palestinian cities to which it used to be connected, which probably explains why Jerusalem's job market relies mostly on Jerusalem's residents.
Source: Central Bureau of Statistics, 2008 Labor Force Survey

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Ethiopian Community of Israel and Jerusalem

Michal Korach

In 1984, the first mass immigration wave of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, known as Operation Moses, began, followed ten years later by a second wave – Operation Solomon.
By the end of 2008, the Ethiopian-Israeli community numbered 119,300 members and made up about 2% of Israel's Jewish population. Of the community's members, 68% had been born in Ethiopia and 32% were Israeli-born with an Ethiopian-born father.

The majority of Ethiopian-Israelis reside in central Israel (39%) and in the South (24%). The localities with the largest Ethiopian communities are Netanya (10,500), Ashdod (6,400), Rehovot (6,300), and Beer Sheva (6,300).
Localities in which the Ethiopian population makes up a relatively large proportion of the local population are: Kiryat Malakhi (17%), Be'er Ya'akov (12%), Kiryat Ekron (8%), Afula (8%), and Gadera (8%).

In 2008, the Ethiopian community of Jerusalem numbered 5,000 residents who accounted for 1% of Jerusalem's Jewish population and were mainly concentrated in the neighborhoods of Ir Ganim Gimel, Shikunei Talpiot, and Katamon Tet. Other localities around Jerusalem with large concentrations of the Ethiopian-Israeli community were: Beit Shemesh (3,100), Mevasseret Zion (1,400) and Ma'ale Adumim (650).

Every Jerusalem Day a national ceremony is held by Ethiopian Jews in commemoration of 4,000 Ethiopian community members who died in the Sudanese desert on their way to Israel. A monument to the deceased is located in Jerusalem and a memorial ceremony is held on Jerusalem Day as a symbol of the strong attachment that Ethiopian Jews feel toward Jerusalem. Until 2007, the memorial ceremony to commemorate the fallen was held at a temporary monument built in 1989 in Kibbutz Ramat Rahel (which is adjacent to Jerusalem). In 2007 a permanent monument was inaugurated on Mount Herzl and the ceremony has been held there since. The Mount Herzl monument features elements symbolizing Ethiopia and the journey to Israel, including desert expanses and wooden huts.

Source: The Ethiopian Population of Israel, Central Bureau of Statistics.