Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Brand New Apartment

Yair Assaf-Shapira

The sale of newly constructed apartments serves as an indication of activity in the construction and real estate sector, in terms of both supply and demand. For the most part these apartments are sold “on paper,” that is, before construction is completed. The data below relate to apartments built through private initiatives, not at the initiative of the Ministry of Construction and Housing.

During the first half of 2011, a total of 380 new apartments that had been built through private construction were sold. This figure represents a decrease in the sale of such apartments in comparison to the second half of 2010, during which 630 new apartments were sold within the city. The number of new apartments sold in Jerusalem is also low in comparison to other cities in Israel. During the first half of 2011, for example, 770, 590, and 540 apartments were sold in Petah-Tikva, Netanya, and Ashkelon respectively.

Despite the low figure for the first half of 2011, there has actually been an increase in the sale of new apartments in Jerusalem. During the period from the beginning of 2009 until June 2011 (5 half-year periods), a total of 2,360 privately constructed apartments were sold in Jerusalem – 650 more than during the preceding period of the same duration (July 2006 through the end of 2008).

Similarly, increasing trends were recorded in other cities, foremost among them Petah Tikva and Ashkelon, where apartment sales during this period rose by 1,680 and 1,440 respectively. The opposite trend was recorded in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Holon, and Rishon LeZion, where apartment sales decreased during this period in comparison to the preceding period.

Compared to other districts in Israel, the apartments sold in the Jerusalem District (including the city of Jerusalem and additional localities) during the first half of 2011 had been on the market a relatively long period of time, measuring from the start of construction until their sale. These apartments remained on the market approximately 7 months (median value), compared to 1.7 months for the national median. For the purposes of comparison, during 2010 apartments in the Jerusalem district were “snatched up” within only 1.3 months, compared to 2.5 months for the national median.


Sources: Survey of New Dwellings for Sale under Private Construction (for the years noted), Central Bureau of Statistics; Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem, 2011.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Physical Exercise

Michal Korach

The Central Bureau of Statistics recently published the findings of a health survey that it had conducted for the purpose of providing data in the areas of health, use of healthcare services, health-related habits, and health insurance, as well as measuring changes in these indicators over time.

One of the survey questions addressed the issue of physical exercise. Physical exercise has important implications in terms of both physical and mental health. Engaging in physical exercise is important not only for losing weight and maintaining physical fitness, but also for improving one’s overall physical condition, reducing the likelihood of chronic illnesses, and improving wellbeing and mental health.

The survey indicates that during 2009, 20% of Israel’s population aged 20 and above engaged in physical exercise (a cumulative total of at least 30 minutes during the day) at least three times a week. The percentage of Jews and others (23%) who engaged in physical exercise was significantly higher than the percentage of Arabs (6%). Within the Jewish population there are significant differences in the level of engagement in physical exercise in accordance with place of birth: the highest percentage of those aged 20 and above who engaged in physical exercise was recorded among people born in Europe and America (25%), followed by those born in Israel (24%), Asia (21%), and Africa (16%).

The data indicate that a correlation exists between years of education and engagement in physical activity. As the years of education received increases, the percentage of people engaged in physical activity increases: among those with 0-8 years of education, 8% engaged in physical activity, compared to 23% among those with 13-15 years of education and 29% among those with 16 or more years of education.

The percentage of people who engage in physical exercise in Jerusalem is lower than in the other major cities. In Jerusalem approximately 19% of those aged 20 and above engaged in physical exercise, compared to 26% in Tel Aviv and Haifa and 23% in Rishon LeZion. As the graph indicates, the percentage of men who engage in physical exercise is generally higher than the percentage of women. The percentages of men and women who engage in physical exercise in Jerusalem are close, measuring 20% and 18%, respectively.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Eat to live or live to eat?

Aviel Yelinek

The people of Israel love to eat, and to eat a lot. This statement is especially true during the holiday season, when – even if we want to – it is very hard to resist the many temptations spread before us on the holiday table. And why should we resist anyway? After all, the holidays are a time of festivities, and what is more festive than a good meal? Thus, even if we maintain a balanced nutrition throughout most of the year, we’re allowed to go a little crazy during the holidays. In any case we’re planning to go on a diet after the holidays, right?

So, now it’s after the holidays. Some of us are carrying a few extra kilograms. In this context the Social Survey of the Central Bureau of Statistics provides interesting data regarding the weight of Jerusalem residents and their attitude towards dieting.

The ratio of a person’s height to weight (BMI – Body Mass Index) makes it possible to measure whether the person is underweight or of normal weight, or is carrying excess weight, overweight, or obese. The survey shows that during 2010, 51% of the residents of Jerusalem (aged 20 and above) carried excess weight or were overweight or obese. In comparison, this figure was 59% for Haifa residents, 52% for Rishon LeZion residents, 50% for Israel’s residents, and 37% for Tel Aviv residents.

It is interesting to note that Jerusalemites were satisfied with their weight in comparison to the residents of other major cities. When asked whether they would like to lose weight, the percentage of Jerusalemites who responded affirmatively was 41%. In comparison, this figure was 52% for Tel Aviv residents, 54% for Israel 59% for Haifa, and 60% for Rishon LeZion.

Among the residents of Jerusalem and Haifa who responded that they would like to lose weight or maintain their current weight, 22% indicated that are dieting. The percentage of dieters among residents of Israel and Tel Aviv was 24%, and among Rishon LeZion residents this figure was 38%. The survey also revealed that among Israel’s residents who reported that they are dieting, 27% received their basic guidelines from a dietician, 18% from family or acquaintances, 15% from books, the internet, or professional material, and 10% from a physician.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bye Bye Baby

Michal Korach

In 2009 there were 161,400 births in Israel, with a total of 164,400 children born. Two percent of the births were of twins. During this year, the average age of mothers giving birth for the first time was 27.0, compared to 25.5 in 1997. The average age of mothers giving birth for the first time among Israel’s Jewish population (27.9) is comparable to that of the Christian population (27.5) and higher than the figure for the Muslim population (23.4).

The highest numbers of births in Israel in 2009 were recorded at Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva (13,200), Shaare Zedek in Jerusalem (13,100), Sourasky in Tel Aviv (10,900), and Sheba/Tel Hashomer near Kiryat Ono (10,500).

An examination of the birthrate (the number of births in relation to the size of the population) indicates that the highest birthrate was recorded in Judea and Samaria (37 births per 1,000 residents – within the Jewish population only), followed by the Jerusalem District (29) and the Southern District (23). Haifa recorded the lowest rate (17). The three other districts – Central, Tel Aviv, and Northern – recorded a birthrate of 20 births per 1,000 residents.

Jerusalem serves as a national medical center for the country in general and for Jerusalem and adjacent communities in particular. The city has seven hospitals with maternity departments, three of which are located in Arab neighborhoods and serve the Arab population – The Red Crescent, Al Makassed, and Dajani Maternity Hospital.

The highest number of births within Jerusalem’s hospitals was recorded at Shaare Zedek Hospital (13,100 – representing 36% of all births in Jerusalem’s hospitals), which was more than double the number of births at the next-ranked hospitals, Hadassah Ein Kerem (5,800 – representing 16%) and Bikur Holim (5,200 – representing 14%). For several years now the number of births at Shaare Zedek Hospital has been at least double the figure for each of the following hospitals: Hadassah Ein Kerem, Bikur Holim, and Hadassah Mount Scopus.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Be fruitful and multiply

Dr. Maya Choshen

A new study correlating fertility in Israel with the level of women’s religiosity, published in June of this year by Dr. Ahmad Hleihel of the Central Bureau of Statistics, states “In recent years there has been an increase in Israeli public discourse regarding the differences in fertility levels among women from the different groups that make up the mosaic of Israeli society. This discourse focuses on the future composition of Israeli society and, in particular, the composition of the work-age population. There are three principal reasons for this: fear of change to the future political composition of society, the socio-political character of the state of Israel, and the low rates of participation of two communities – Haredi and Arab – in the workforce and their significant influence on poverty in Israel.” Jerusalem, where a discourse on this issue has flourished for decades already, has preceded Israel.

In 2009 the total fertility rate (the number of children a woman is expected to birth during her life) was 4.0 children, which is higher by a third than the figure for Israel – 3.0 children. The fertility rate of Jewish women in Jerusalem (4.3) is significantly higher than that for Jewish women in Israel (3.0). The explanation for this lies in the higher proportion of haredi and religious women in Jerusalem compared to Israel. These women are characterized by high fertility rates – 7.5 children for haredi women and 4.3 children for religious women, compared to 2.1 children for secular women. The fertility rate of Arab women in Jerusalem (3.9) is also higher than the figure for Arab women in Israel (3.5), but the difference is smaller.
An examination of the patterns of change of fertility rates reveals that during the past decade the fertility rates of Jewish women in Israel and in Jerusalem have risen. Among Arab and Muslim women in Israel and in Jerusalem the trend has been in the opposite direction, with a decrease in fertility rates.

And now for the news: in 2009, for the first time, the fertility rate of Jewish women in Jerusalem (4.3) was higher than the fertility rate of Arab women (3.9) and was even higher than that of Muslim women (3.9). 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Little Red Corvette or Pink Cadillac?

Aviel Yelinek

In 2010 approximately 2.05 million private motor vehicles traversed Israel’s roads. Israel has a motorization rate of 267 private motor vehicles for every 1,000 residents, which is relatively low in comparison to other developed countries. Approximately 39% of vehicles in Israel were produced in Japan, 11% in South Korea, and 8% in Spain and in France (each). Interestingly, only about 4% of motor vehicles in Israel were produced in the United States. Among the private motor vehicles added to Israel’s roads in the past year, the highest relative proportion belonged to Mazda (16%). The company that came in second place was Hyundai (15%), and in third place was Toyota (11%).

The motorization rate and the average age of motor vehicles are usually indicators of a population’s socio-economic status. Typically, the higher a population’s socio-economic status is, the higher its motorization rate will be and the lower the average age of its motor vehicles will be.

The motorization rate in Jerusalem in 2009 measured 169 private motor vehicles per 1,000 persons, which was one of the lowest rates among the country’s cities. For the sake of comparison, the motorization rates in Be’er Sheva measured 198 vehicles per 1,000 persons. In Rishon LeZion this figure stood at 295, and for Haifa it was 321. The motorization rate in Tel Aviv was among the highest in the country, measuring 469 private motor vehicles for every 1,000 persons. As the graph shows, Jerusalem’s motorization rate is relatively low in comparison with its adjacent localities, excluding Beit Shemesh and the Haredi localities.

The data regarding the average age of private vehicles paint a similar picture. The average age of a private vehicle in Israel in 2009 was 6.9 years. The average age of a private vehicle in Jerusalem was the highest among major cities, measuring 8.3. The average age in Be’er Sheva was 7.2. In Rishon LeZion it was 7.0, and in Haifa it measured 6.2. The average age of motor vehicles in Tel Aviv was among the lowest in the country, measuring 4.8.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Jerusalem Mix

Eitan Blauer

The mixing of allocated uses of land (hereinafter, “mixed use”) is an accepted urban-planning practice today. This approach allows a combination of residential and other uses, such as commercial, educational, cultural, and the like, within a specified planning zone (a building or street). The mixed-use approach stands in contrast to the separate-use approach, which requires separation of zones according to allocated uses. Jane Jacobs, considered one of the most prominent advocates of the mixed-use approach, believed that mixed use is a key factor in urban renewal and the creation of successful urban areas.

One can examine the mixed uses within an area by analyzing the data on residential and non-residential floor space. Areas with allocated uses approaching 50% residential and 50% non-residential are regarded as having the optimal mixed use. An analysis of municipal tax (residential and non-residential) allocations for 2010 makes it possible to identify the extent of mixed uses within all areas of Jerusalem. These areas were divided into a number of principal groups representing the extent of mixed use. The first group comprises areas in which over 80% of the built-up land is residential, with commercial-use land concentrated in one place. This group includes new residential neighborhoods such as PisgatZe’ev, Ramat Shlomo, and Ramot, as well as the Arab neighborhoods of Shuafat and Issawiyya. The second group comprises areas with 60%-79% of the land allocated for residential use and includes the older neighborhoods that contain Jerusalem’s central commercial streets, such as the German Colony, Mea She’arim, and BeitHaKerem.

The third group (40%-59%) comprises residential areas with major commercial and business centers, such as the southern part of the French Hill neighborhood, parts of the Old City, and parts of BayitVagan. The fourth group (10%-39%) covers those areas where residential use is not the principal characteristic of the area, such as parts of the city center and parts of Giv’atShaul. The fifth group (0%-9%) comprises Jerusalem’s main commercial and business areas, such as HarHotzvim, the government compound, and the Malkha shopping mall.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Engagement for Effective Environmental Governance

A new paper by Valerie Brachya, Director of the Environmental Policy Center, Jerusalem Institute for Israel Research, former Deputy Director General of the Ministry for Environmental Protection, was published in the Mepielan Bulletin.

Countries around the world recognize the importance of global and regional environmental governance and express their willingness to cooperate and support common goals. However it is increasingly apparent that most current governance regimes have not proven effective. The issue is therefore what steps could be taken to transform global or regional agreements into effective measures for implementation at the national level. Commitment will remain as good intentions without results if a country's governmental system does not translate them into operational processes which affect environmental performance. Consequently a key issue, is what brings a country's government system to reform its environmental performance?

It is frequently proposed that transformation is achieved through top down or bottom up processes, or a combination of both. This paper proposes that transformation can often best be achieved through the middle rung of the ladder, neither top nor bottom, but through a horizontal shift generated by the epistemic community of professional environmentalists inside government.

Click here to read the entire paper.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Summer Heat

Inbal Doron

The months of July and August mean summer vacation from schools and nurseries, half-empty workplaces, and a holiday feeling in the air. This raises the interesting question of where – within Israel – Israelis choose to spend their summer holidays. During July and August of 2010, Israel’s hospitality services registered approximately 5,860,000 overnight stays (Israelis and tourists): 84% in tourist hotels, 12% in rural accommodation, and 4% in youth hostels. The data further indicates that during this time of the year, there were significantly more Israelis than tourists among hotel guests. Of a total 1,575,500 hotel guests, approximately 1,116,700 are Israeli (71%), compared to only 458,700 tourists (29%).

Where do Israelis choose to spend their vacation? Eilat clearly stands out as the strongest preference. During July and August of 2010, hotels in Eilat accommodated 461,500 Israeli guests, representing 41% of the total number of hotel guests within the country. Jerusalem hotels accommodated 92,100 Israelis (8% of the total number of hotel guests in Israel). During July and August, Jerusalem in fact recorded the largest number of Israeli visitors in comparison with the rest of the year, representing 26% of all Israeli tourist hotel guests within the city during 2010. Other popular destinations included the Dead Sea hotels (12%), Tiberias (10%), and Tel Aviv (4%).

Jerusalem ranks first among the preferred destinations of tourists, and this preference holds during the summer months as well. Despite the large number of Israeli visitors to Jerusalem during July and August, Israelis represented only 39% of visitors to the city, whereas foreign tourists accounted for 61% of Jerusalem’s visitors during this period.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Relocating within the Jerusalem area

Yair Assaf-Shapira

In 2009, the demographic makeup of Jerusalem’s outmigration was as follows: 25% were children under the age of 15, 41% were young adults between the ages of 15 and 29, another 30% were adults between the ages of 30 and 64 and 4% were seniors over the age of 65. Jerusalem’s incoming migration was basically a mirror picture of Jerusalem’s outgoing migration, although it is true that more families and more adults migrated out of Jerusalem than into it.

Individuals tend to relocate in response to pivotal life-events, whether the birth of a child or once a child has reached school age. Many of those who leave Jerusalem relocate to localities in the surrounding area, which can be grouped into different categorizes by the particular demographic populations they draw.

Beitar Illit and Modiin Illit basically only draw Ultra-Orthodox population, mostly young families. Young adults between the ages of 15 and 29 made up the bulk of incomers to Beitar Illit and Modiin Illit, between 47% and 54%; children under the age of 15 accounted for 34%-40%, adults between the ages 30-64 accounted for 11%-12% and seniors over the age of 65 accounted for only 1%.

Beit Shemesh, another major destination for ex-Jerusalemites, draws a more mixed population that includes Ultra-Orthodox groups as well as others. Adults between the ages of 30 and 64 accounted for 23% of incomers to Beit Shemesh, and young adults between the ages 15-29 account for another 35%. Like other major destinations for the Ultra-Orthodox population, the percentage of children entering the city approximated 40%.

The picture in Maale Adummim, Modiin and Mevaseret Zion was somewhat different. Children under 15 accounted for 25% to 29% of incomers to these localities and seniors over the age of 65 accounted for 4%-5%. The percentage of incoming adults between the ages of 30-64 was higher in Modiin (45%) and Mevaseret Zion (41%) than Maale Adummim (34%).

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Labor Force Participation Rates-Part Two

Dr. Maya Choshen

Labor force participation rates are calculated as the number of individuals between the ages of 20 and 65 who are actively involved in the labor force as a percentage of the entire working-aged population.  The category of labor force participants includes those who are employed or are actively seeking employment.  Recently, the country has been embroiled in a public and professional debate over the age of retirement for women in Israel, which is currently lower than retirement age for men. This debate is naturally connected to more general differences between men and women which also play out in the work world.  The present column focuses on the gender differences of labor force   participation rates.  As previously noted, labor force participation rates in Jerusalem are lower than the national average (58% compared with 71%), primarily owing to the low participation rates among Jerusalem’s ultra-orthodox men and Arab women.  The labor force  participation rate of the Jewish male population was 59% in Jerusalem compared with 75% in Israel.  Among the Arab male population the situation was reversed: their labor force participation rates were higher in Jerusalem than their national average (78% compared with 75%).  As for women, what can be said?

Women’s labor force participation rates were lower in Jerusalem than in Israel, among both the Jewish and Arab populations.  In 2009, the labor force participation rate for Jewish women was 68% in Jerusalem compared with 75% nationally; for Arab women the rate was 15% in Jerusalem compared with 26%.    

On the other hand, labor force participation rates of Jewish women in Jerusalem outstrip Jewish men (68% versus 59%), which can again be pinned to the low participation rate of ultra-orthodox men.  In Israel, the labor force participation rate of Jewish women was similar to Jewish Men. It is worthwhile to note that the labor force participation rate of Jewish women in Tel Aviv was only slightly lower than the rate for Jewish men (79% compared with 82%), and similarly in Haifa, the comparison was 76% to 78%, respectively.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Labor Force Participation Rates

Dr. Maya Choshen

Labor force participation rates are calculated as the number of individuals actively involved in the Labor force as a percentage of the entire working-aged population.  The category of Labor force participants includes those who are employed or are actively seeking employment.  While there are a number of different ways to define the Labor force, this column follows the definition of those between the ages of 20 and 65.

The economic effects of Labor force participation rates play out on the individual, family, city and national levels.  Studies performed by the Bank of Israel have found that low Labor force participation rates characterize those who have less education, ultra-orthodox males with an extensive religious education, and Arab women, particularly with less education.  Low participation rates prevent the maximization of the country’s productiveness, lower quality of living, and increase the scope of poverty as well as government spending on welfare entitlements.

A comparison of Labor force participation rates for 2009 (for those aged 20 to 65) in Jerusalem and Israel as a whole reveal significantly lower rates for Jerusalem (58% compared with 71%).  Jerusalemites’ Labor force participation rates lagged far behind national averages for both the Jewish population (includes non-Arab Christians, and persons without religious classification) and Arab population. The average participation rate for Jerusalem among the former group was 64% compared with a national average of 75%; among the latter group it was 47% compared with a national rate of 50%.  It is noteworthy that the disparity between participation rates in Jerusalem and Israel as a whole is greater for the Jewish rather than the Arab population.  This finding might be explained by the distinct character of Jerusalem’s Jewish population which is greatly ultra-orthodox, a group with strikingly low employment rates among its male population. This reality impacts Jerusalem’s economy as well as the pervasiveness of poverty among the ultra-orthodox population.  On the upside, the current situation offers tremendous potential for economic growth, and there are many national and municipal programs aiming to incorporate more ultra-orthodox men in institutions of higher education for the purpose of helping them incorporate in the Labor force.  The upcoming column will deal with Labor force participation rates among the Arab population and gender differences. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Private House With a Red Roof

Yair Assaf-Shapira

One might have assumed that smaller, one or two-story buildings would characterize rural localities. Low-density housing is less suited to urban localities, particularly in light of the depletion of land available for development and the National Master Plan no. 35 for land development which specifies minimal housing density standards.

The hard data, however, clearly indicates that Israeli cities and local authorities have seen low-rise housing construction on a large scale. During 2009 and 2010, 88% of buildings completed in urban localities (compared with 80% in cities) had one to two stories (The data pertains to new buildings and does not include new units added to standing buildings). The picture is even starker when examining the data for all new construction completed during those two years, including rural areas: 93% of all new buildings which accounted for 48% of all new residential units were one- to two-story buildings.

This is not a new trend. The numbers for the past decade demonstrate that a similar percentage of new construction in urban localities (87%) as well as throughout the country (91%) was of one- to two-story buildings.
A possible explanation for this reality may be the efforts of localities to attract wealthier families who generally seek single-home residences. Yet this trend contradicts the declared national planning policy which seeks to increase housing density.

Jerusalem, and its neighboring localities to an even greater degree, have an unusually large number of high-rises. Of all the cities in Israel which saw the completion of more than 20 new buildings between 2009 and 2010, most localities in the Jerusalem region had the lowest percentages of low-rise construction.

Localities in which low-rise buildings accounted for less than 50% of new construction include Maale Adumim (9%), Givat Zeev (34%), Modiin-Maccabim-Reut (38%), Beit Shemesh (41%), Beitar Illit (42%) and Jerusalem (49%). The only other cities where low-rise buildings accounted for less than 50% of new construction were Elad, Eilat and Givatayim.

By way of comparison, low-risers accounted for 61% of new construction in Haifa, 63% in Tel Aviv and 92% in Rishon LeZion and the overall average for all Israel urban localities was 88%.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Changing Consumption Habits

Michal Korach

Newly released CBS data on household expenditures in Israel reveals that, in 2009, the average monthly household expenditure for Jerusalem was 11,900 NIS, compared with a national average of 13,000 NIS and 14,400 NIS in Tel Aviv.  Given the differences in household size, the (standard) average per capita monthly expenditure in Jerusalem was actually 4,000 NIS, far below the national average (4,700 NIS) and the average in Tel Aviv (6,900 NIS). 

The primary household expenditure categories in Jerusalem were: housing (26%), transportation and communications (17%), food (17%), education, culture and entertainment (13%).  Percentagewise, the distribution of household expenditures in Jerusalem was similar to the figures for Israel and Tel Aviv. 

Monetarily, the household expenditure on food in Jerusalem, Israel and Tel Aviv was similar, around 2,100 NIS.  But as we know, ‘different strokes for different folks’.  In Jerusalem, the primary food expenditure categories were fresh produce (410 NIS), meat and poultry (340 NIS), bread, grains and other dough products (330 NIS), milk products and eggs (300 NIS) and dining out (240 NIS). 

Interestingly enough, whereas in Jerusalem and throughout Israel the two leading categories in household expenditure on food were fresh produce and meat and poultry, in Tel Aviv, dining out topped the list followed by fresh produce.  In fact, on average, Tel Avivians spend around 31% of their monthly food bill on eating out, compared to an average of 12% for Jerusalemites and 14% for all Israeli households. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Feeling Isolated? You're not alone

Aviel Yelinek

Isolation is a psychological state characterized by feeling distant and isolated from others along with a strong desire to connect with other people.  A person’s need for human companionship and social activity are key factors influencing life satisfaction and happiness.

The 2009 Social Survey of the CBS asked respondents if and how often they have felt isolated in the past.  The survey’s results indicate that Jerusalemites feel less isolated than the residents of other major cities in Israel.  Fifty five percent of Jerusalemites reported that they never feel isolated, as compared with 37% of Tel-Aviv’s residents, 50% of Haifa’s residents and 44% of Ashdod’s residents. 
On the flip side, the percentage of respondents who reported feeling isolated often was about the same across these four cities, ranging between seven and ten percent. 

Interestingly enough, feelings of isolation are more common among seniors than young adults.  Nearly 25% of seniors in Israel reported that they feel isolated often compared with only 6% of respondents between the ages of 20 and 39. 

The 2009 Social Survey demonstrates a clear negative link between feelings of isolation and religiosity.  Seventy two percent of Ultra-Orthodox respondents reported never experiencing feelings of isolation compared with 50% of National-Religious individuals and 45% of secular Jews.  The fact that Ultra-Orthodox individuals are less affected by feelings of isolation might be explained by their communal lifestyle and the fact that they tend to have larger families.

The survey results show a clear gender gap, with a higher rate of occurrence among women than among men.  About 10% of women reported that they felt isolated often compared with 7% of men.  Furthermore, only 41% of women reported never to have experienced feelings of isolation compared with 54% of men. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ever more youthful

Michal Korach

Jerusalem’s population is particularly youthful. In 2009, the median age in the city was 24 (Half of the city’s population is younger than the median age, and half is older). By way of comparison, Tel-Aviv and Haifa are significantly older, with a median age of 34 and 38, respectively.  The national median age for 2009 was 29.

Jerusalem’s population is so exceptionally youthful because it has a relatively high percentage of children in addition to its having an unusually low percentage of seniors (age 65+).  Almost half (42%) of Jerusalem’s population is of the ages 18 and under and merely 8% are aged 65 and older. 

Of Jerusalem’s non-Ultra-Orthodox, Jewish neighborhoods, the youngest median ages per neighborhood were recorded in Har Homa (21), Givat Mordechai (23) and French Hill (26).  Conversely, the highest neighborhood median ages were recorded in Kiryat Wolfson (68), Nayot, Neve Geranot and Neve Sha’anan (47) and Talbiye (45).  

Among Jerusalem’s Ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, the lowest neighborhood median ages were recorded in Kiryat Keminitz in Neve Yaakov (15), Ramat Shlomo (16), Me’a Shearim and Batei Ungerin (16).  The highest neighborhood median ages were found in Kenesset and Batei Broida (31), Sha’arei Hesed (25), Har Nof and Bayit VeGan (20). 

A similar study of Arab neighborhoods could not be performed for lack of available data. 

The graph below shows that non-Ultra-Orthodox localities surrounding Jerusalem had a higher median age than in Jerusalem, while localities surrounding Jerusalem with large Ultra-Orthodox populations had a lower median age than in Jerusalem.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Studious Jerusalemites

Eitan Bluer

The Jerusalem Municipality is investing significant resources in its effort to brand Jerusalem as a national center of higher education and to draw students from every part of the country.  Jerusalem already boasts a large concentration of higher education institutions of every stripe – academic, rabbinic and post-secondary.  Jerusalem’s centrality in the field is evident from the large percentage of students enrolled in its institutions of higher learning; a percentage which greatly exceeds that found in other Israeli cities.  In 2009, 76,000 Jerusalemites over the age of 20 were enrolled in the city’s educational institutions.  As a percentage, this cohort accounted for 17% of its age group in Jerusalem as compared with 11% in Tel-Aviv and in Haifa and a national average of 10%.  Jerusalem also houses many rabbinic academies for men known as yeshivot gedolot.  The presence of these institutions also serves to explain the disproportionate male to female ratio in Jerusalem’s adult higher education: 63% to 37% respectively.  In other major cities, the male to female ratio is almost balanced: 49% to 51% in Tel-Aviv, and 47% to 53% in Haifa and in Israel as a whole.  

Higher education institutions in Jerusalem mostly fall into three categories: institutions that award academic degrees, institutions that award post-secondary certification and rabbinical yeshivot gedolot.  In 2009, 49% of adult students in Jerusalem were studying toward an academic degree.  Their number was 37,000, and 56% of them were female.  Another 25,000 students, which accounted for 33% of Jerusalem’s adult student population, studied in yeshivot gedolot.  They were all male, without exception.      Another 6,000 students, the equivalent of 8% of Jerusalem’s adult student population of which 63% were female, were enrolled in other post-secondary certification programs. 

Of the adult student population, the percentage of students enrolled in academic institutions was lower in Jerusalem than in Israel: 49% compared with 63%.  The proportion of students enrolled in post-secondary certification programs was also relatively low: 8% compared with 13% nationwide. On the other hand, the proportion of students enrolled at rabbinic male seminaries was conspicuously higher with 33% compared with 13%. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Justly or Wrongly Convicted?

Inbal Doron

Crime rates in Israel have been falling over the past five years; these were the findings of the last annual report of the Israel Police Force.  What about crime rates in Jerusalem?
In 2009, 11,550 residents of Jerusalem were convicted of felonies –  the equivalent of 1.5% of Jerusalem’s population.  Of the convicted, 1,400 were minors under the age of 17 (12%), and another 19% were young adults, between the ages of 17 and 21.

The distribution of felonies showed that 36% were social order offenses, 21% were offenses physical crimes, 19% were property crimes and another 13% were drug related. 

The percentage of males among the criminally convicted is considerably high at 88%.  Crime types which are almost exclusively dominated by males (defined as 95% or more of convicted felons being male) include murder and manslaughter, sexual assault, drug-related crimes and licensing offenses. Of felonies committed by females, an internal distribution study showed that the crimes were mostly concentrated in the areas of offenses against person and against public order: 37% and 32% respectively.

A longitudinal study of the data does not demonstrate any significant trend or change in the number of crimes committed, with the exception of the number of drug offenses committed in the past decade.  In 1999, 315 cases of drug trafficking were opened, and another 710 cases of drug use.  By 2009, the numbers had jumped to 610 cases of drug trafficking (nearly 100% increase) and another 1,120 cases involving drug use (60% increase). 


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Seeking education for our joint future together

Michal Korach

On the individual level, educational background, and particularly higher education, is positively correlated to a person’s income level and quality of life.  On a national level, it corresponds to the country’s level of socio-economic development on a whole.  Higher education is the “black gold” of the global age, and it importance is all the more pronounced in Israel, where the main resource is human capital.  

Newly-released data from the census performed in December 2008 by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics make it possible to classify Jerusalem’s neighborhoods by levels of education. 

This data reveals that the break-up of educational background (by highest degree earned) among Jerusalem’s population is similar to the national average.  Thirty six percent of Jerusalem’s residents aged 15 and above had completed high school (58% of which had completed their matriculation exam requirements), as compared with a national high-school graduation rate of 40%, of which 57% had also completed their matriculation exam requirements.  Eleven percent of Jerusalem’s population has non-academic post-high school education (compared with a national rate of 12%) and 22% held baccalaureate or post-baccalaureate degrees (compared with a national rate of 23%). 

Significantly enough, Jerusalem has an extremely high percentage of men who studied in a yeshivah – 27% compared with a national rate of 7%.  Of Israeli cities with 100,000 residents or more, only Bnei Brak had a higher percentage of males who had studied in yeshivah – 67%. 
The highest percentage of university graduates with a baccalaureate degree or higher was found in the neighborhoods of Rasqo, Giva’at Mordechai, German Colony, Old Katamon, Rehavia, French Hill, Abu-Tur, Baqa’a and Yamin Moshe.  The lowest percentages of university graduates, which varied between 2% and 10%, were found in the Ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of Geula, Mea Shearm, Sanhedriya, Tel Arza, Romema, Makor Baruch and Ramat Shlomo. 

Jerusalem’s Ultra-Orthodox population is, by no account, homogenous with regard to education.  Some heavily Ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods boast a relatively high proportion of university educated residents, such as Har Nof (28%) and Givaat Shaul (20%). 

For many years, it was rather uncommon for Jerusalem’s Ultra-Orthodox populations (mainly the male population) to seek higher education, and particularly in academic channels, presumably because the men dedicated themselves to their religious studies.  Over the past years, this trend has been reversed, following increased awareness of the need to incorporate the Ultra-Orthodox population in the workforce.  One of the means for achieving this goal has been to increase access to and participation in higher education. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

None other like it in the world – Jerusalem's educational system

Dr. Maya Choshen

Jerusalem has been blessed with extraordinary cultural diversity.  The social and cultural wealth of Jerusalem's residents serves the city’s beauty and unique character as well as also serving as a source of conflict and social strife.  Jerusalem’s intricate diversity is also expressed in the city’s educational institutions which are among the keystones of Jerusalem’s public life and identity.  Jerusalem boasts a host of unique and unusual schools of every kind and creed – state, state-religious, Ultra-Orthodox and Arab, which currently serve 217,200 students in the 2010/2011 school year.
Let it be noted that for the first time in 15 years all educational streams are run by a single organizing unit entitled: haminhal le-sheirutei hinukh, the Administration for Educational Services. The newly-created administration combines the former two administrations: the Jerusalem Educational Administration (Manhi) and the Administration for Ultra-Orthodox Education (Manhah). The Jerusalem Educational Administration oversees the education of 31,700 students in the state education system and 27,000 students in the state-religious system.  In addition to the 58,700 students in the Hebrew division of the administration, there are another 67,100 students who study in the administration’s Arab division. The Administration for Ultra-Orthodox Education oversees the education of 91,400 school-ages children.

Jerusalem's educational system is the largest in Israel.  It currently serves 217,200 students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. These numbers do not include students studying in the private Arab educational system, an additional estimated 20,000.

The number of schoolchildren in Jerusalem rivals the entire population of Rishon LeZion, the fourth-largest city in Israel with 228,200 residents at the end of 2009, and exceeds the residential population of Ashdod, the fifth-largest city in Israel (206,400 residents).

The diverse communities, beliefs, practices and preferences of Jerusalem's residents and educational institutions, in addition to the sheer size of Jerusalem’s educational system, have proven a rather fertile ground for educational innovation of the highest order.  As such it has become a paradigm of excellence in the field of education and a model to be emulated throughout the rest of the country, a subject to which a future post will be dedicated.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Content and Watchfully Optimistic

Aviel Yelinek

Every year the CBS compiles a Social Survey intended to provide information about the living conditions and perceptions of Israel’s adult population (ages 20+).  The Social Survey for 2009 included questions that inquired into Israelis’ level of satisfaction with various aspects of their life. 

The 2009 Social Survey reveals that Jerusalem’s residents are more content with life than the population of any of Israel’s other large cities.  42% of respondents in Jerusalem said they were extremely satisfied with life compared to 30% of respondents in Haifa, 28% in Rishon LeZion, and 26% in Tel-Aviv.  Conversely, the number of Jerusalemite respondents who claimed they were moderately or extremely dissatisfied with their lives did not exceed 11%.  The percentages of dissatisfied individuals in Rishon LeZion, Tel-Aviv and Haifa were 11%, 14%, and 19%, respectively.

The data reveals a positive connection between religiosity and life satisfaction.  The highest levels of contentment were found among Jerusalem’s Ultra-Orthodox population: 64% of Ultra-Orthodox respondents said they were extremely satisfied with life, compared to only 38% of National-Religious Jerusalemites and 19% of traditional and secular Jerusalemites.

Jerusalemites also appear to be happier with their financial situation, relative to other Israelis.  More than any other group living in Israel’s largest cities, Jerusalemites expressed the highest levels of satisfaction with their financial situation: 62% said they were moderately or extremely satisfied with their financial situation, compared to 56% of respondents in Tel-Aviv and Rishon LeZion and 52% in Haifa. 

Jerusalemites were also the most rosy-eyed about their financial future.  60% of them believed their situation would improve, compared to 54% of respondents in Tel-Aviv, 45% in Haifa and only 39% in Rishon LeZion. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Riding to Work

Yair Assaf-Shapira

Riding a bike as opposed to driving a car eases traffic congestion and parking problems, reduces air pollution emissions and also offers health benefits.  Jerusalem is a hilly city, but despite the obvious difficulties such a terrain presents to bike riders, their numbers have been steadily increasing in the city.  Unfortunately, more riders also means more road accidents.  Between 2003 and 2005, the average number of cyclers (ages 20+) injured on the road was 3.3 a year.  Between the years 2008 – 2010, their number jumped to 8.3.  By way of comparison, the number of pedestrians and car occupants (ages 20+) injured in traffic accidents over the same time period dropped.

In 2008, 0.6% of Jerusalem's working population commuted to work by bicycle (about 1,400 cyclers).  Israel’s national average in 2008 was 1.0%.  Among Israel's larger cities, (refers to any city with 2,000 residents or more) Tel-Aviv-Yaffo stood out with its high numbers of cyclers: 3.5% of its working population commuted to work by bicycle.  Of course, Tel-Aviv-Jaffo also boasts a flat landscape and a relatively well maintained and developed network of bike paths.  Bnei Brak, Ramat Gan and Rehovot also exhibited rates that were higher than in Jerusalem. Other large cities, including Holon, Netanya and Petach-Tikvah, exhibited numbers that were closer to Jerusalem’s average, and some cities, including Beer Sheva, Bat Yam, Rishon LeZion, Ashdod, Haifa and Ashkelon, undershot Jerusalem’s average. 

Within Jerusalem, cycling to work was significantly more popular in the neighborhoods situated south of the City Center.  In some neighborhoods 2% or more of the working population commuted to work by bike.  These included: Nahlaot, the eastern belt surrounding Rehavia, Talbiya, Old Katamon, Katamonim, Baqaa and Talpiyot.  These neighborhoods also happen to be situated East of Nahal Rehavia – Saqr Park and West of (or along) the watershed line that crosses Jerusalem, which means that their terrain also happens to be relatively level.  The number of bicycle commuters among the residents of Old Katamon and West of Nahlaot (in the area situated between Nissim Bachar St. and Ben-Tzvi Ave and Madregot St.) was particularly high. The recently-opened bike path running along the old railroad tracks should serve the many cyclers in those areas.  

Monday, February 28, 2011

Oh Say! Can You See....

Tamar Schlossberg

Mark Twain once wrote:There is something good and motherly about Washington, the grand old benevolent National Asylum for the helpless.”

Without the context, it is hard to discern whether this quote is intended to be read with a sarcastic tone or in a stern and formal manner. Nonetheless, it is an interesting perception to have of Washington, before departing on a journey to meet with members of congress and representatives of several influential organizations. Senior staff members at the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies embarked on such a journey this past January. Although the freezing weather was a bit of a shock at first, they were pleased to determine that the weather would be the only cold thing about their trip. And indeed, the warm reception they received from all representatives of the institutions they visited definitely made up for the frosty outdoors.

The concept of gratitude is one that is very much valued at the JIIS; consequently, the trip began with visits to some of our donors and their families. They were very pleased with the visit and the briefing on the Institute’s latest projects, publications and other ardent endeavors.

The JIIS team went on to meet with representatives of: the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, AIPAC, the Center for American Progress and the United States Institute for Peace, before heading to New York to meet with: The Jewish Week, The UJA Federation of New York, and the Jewish Federations of North America. The discussions held were enriching and illuminating, intellectually as well as practically. In addition to outlining our research activities with detailed explanations on the topics of the city’s many faces, the Middle-East conflict, interfaith dialogue, developments in the ultra-orthodox sector, US-Israel relations, and the Al-Jazeera documents, ideas were shared about the practical implementation of the conclusions and suggestions found in some of our research. Different points of view were heard, including some surprising unexpected inside information! Overall the meetings were very fruitful and we look forward to collaborating with many of these organizations to advance mutual goals.

Staying in Washington without visiting the Israeli delegates at our home base, the Israeli embassy, would be an offense to true Israeli hospitality. A presentation was given to update them, mainly on matters regarding Jerusalem, which they were very intrigued by.

As much as everyone longs for peace in the Middle-East, this objective seems to have been overshadowed in the past few weeks by an issue of greater importance, namely, the new bus routes in Jerusalem! Anyone trying to get out and about in the city in recent months – especially via public transportation – can tell a tale or two of frustration and woe due to terrible traffic jams and obstreperous obstacles. You will be happy to read about the meetings held with a specialist on the topic of transportation at the Catholic university and with representatives of the Urban Institute, which sends experts all over the world to devise enhanced urban planning strategies. It looks like a joint project on this theme will be launched shortly. (Check out our statistics about the use of public transportation in Jerusalem). Solving this issue is obviously a high priority, so as to allow decision makers to return to the more marginal issues on the agenda, like the Iranian threat for example.

I think the JIIS travelers would agree with Mark Twain, there definitely is something good and motherly about Washington, and we look forward to expanding such family connections. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

On foot or by public transportation?

Dr. Maya Choshen

Public transportation services in Israel many times offer slow service with long travel times and grossly inaccurate timetable. Matters are only made worse for passengers needing to transfer between transportation systems. Not surprisingly, many Israelis prefer their private vehicles despite the higher costs, because of the ease and simplicity they offer. Another advantage of a private car is the freedom to travel on weekends and holidays, when many public transportation systems do not run. The increased reliance on private vehicles carries many economic and environmental costs, including air, soil and water pollution, loss of open spaces, road congestion and higher rates of road accidents, to name only a few.

At the end of 2009 there were 2,458,700 motor vehicles in Israel – 79% of them private. The motorization rate was 326 vehicles per 1000 persons. The motorization rate in Israel has risen over 20 years from 211 / 1000 (vehicles per persons) in 1990, to 288 / 1000 in 2000 to 326 / 1000 in 2009. Nevertheless, Israel’s motorization rate is still lower than in other developed countries.
At the end of 2009, there were 168,700 motor vehicles in Jerusalem – 77% of them private. The motorization rate was 218 vehicles per 1000 residents. A great degree of variance was found in the motorization rate across the different localities of metropolitan Jerusalem, where residents tend to commute daily for work, study and other purposes. Not surprisingly, these rates corresponded directly to the socio-economic status of the resident population of these localities. The lowest rates were found in the Ultra-Orthodox localities of Modi’in Illit (43 vehicles per 1000 residents) and Beitar Illit (53 vehicles per 1000). Higher motorization rates were found in Maale Adumim (281), Modi’in-Maccabim-Reut (301) and Mate Yehuda (333). Abu Gosh also had a higher motorization rate than Jerusalem – 228 / 1000 compared to 218 / 1000.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Let's get to work!

Aviel Yelinek

The results for the census conducted in 2008 have recently been released, offering us deeper insights into our society and workforce.  In 2008, Jerusalem had 240,000 participants in the workforce.  This number includes both working persons and unemployed persons seeking employment, of persons aged 15 or older.  This figure translated into a workforce participation rate of 50%, which was lower than the national average (60%), the average in Tel Aviv (70%), and the average in Haifa (60%).  Jerusalem’s low workforce participation rate can be pinned to low workforce participation rates among the Jewish Ultra-Orthodox and Arab segments of the population.  In Tel Aviv, the number of workforce participants was 232,000 – only slightly lower than their number in Jerusalem, despite the fact that Tel Aviv’s population is almost half the size of Jerusalem's population.

Generally speaking, the workforce participation rate is higher for men than for women; in Jerusalem, it was 58% for the male population (compared to the national average of 65%) and 42% for the female population (compared to a national average of 53%).

Workforce participation rates vary greatly among Jerusalem's neighborhoods.  Har Homa boasted the highest rate (79%).  Relatively high rates of participation in the workforce were also found in Ramat Sharet and Ramat Denya (71%), City Center and Nahlaaot (69%), Gonnenim-Katamon (67%) and East Talpiyot (66%).  Participation rates that were closer to the national average were found in Kiryat Yovel (63%), Kiryat Menachem and ‘Ir Ganim (62%), Gilo (61%), and Baqaa (58%).  At the opposite end, the lowest workforce participation rates were found in the Me’ah Shearim area, and Beit Israel and Bukharim neighborhoods (20%).  Other neighborhoods with workforce participation rates below the city average were Sanhedria and Shikun Chabad (29%), Makor Baruch, Mahne Yehuda, Zichron Moshe (33%), Ramat Shlomo (44%), Neve Yaakov (45%), Bayit va-Gan (47%), and Har Nof (48%).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Legal Drivers

Michal Korach

Driving age in Israel is 17 for a private vehicle and 16 for a motorized scooter.  In 2008, 3.36 million Israelis had a driver license, of whom 58% were male and 42% female.

The percentage of licensed drivers in a particular locality or city is clearly linked to its socioeconomic status.  The highest percentages of licensed drivers (among persons aged 18 or older) were recorded in Kokhav Ya’ir, Shoham, Tel Mond, Even Yehuda, Ra’anana, and Modi’in-Maccabim-Re’ut, all of which were in the 90-97% range.  (The list excludes localities with fewer than 10,000 residents.)

Conversely, the lowest rates of licensed drivers were found in the Arab localities, Hura, Kuseife, and Jisr az-Zarqa and in the Ultra-Orthodox localities Modi’in Illit, Bnei Brak and Beitar Illit, all of which were in the 23-36% range.  One must also keep in mind that the relatively low rates of licensed drivers among these two populations is a consequence of social and cultural attitudes and norms, as well as socioeconomic factors.

In Jerusalem, 54% of the adult population holds a driver’s license.  As can be seen in the diagram below, the percentage of licensed drivers in Jerusalem is below the rates found in the localities inhabiting Jerusalem's metropolitan region, to the exclusion of Ultra-Orthodox localities.

When the numbers are broken down according to license type, they reveal that the highest percentages of commercial driver license holders (for driving a truck) are found in Arab localities.  In Kuseife and Ar'ara, between 66% and 67% of licensed drivers had a commercial driver license, and in Rahat, Hura, Tel Sheva, and Jisr az-Zarqa, between 45% and 54% of licensed drivers had a commercial driver license.  The number of motorcycle or moped driver license holders was highest in Tel-Aviv-Yaffo at 25%, immediately followed by Eilat, with 24%.  The numbers were also high throughout metropolitan Tel-Aviv, ranging between 20 and 24 percent, in Giv’atayim, Ramat Gan, Azor, Yahud, Ramat Hasharon, and Kiryat Ono.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Gates of Jerusalem Welcome You

Aviel Yelinek

Jerusalem is naturally one of Israel’s central tourist attractions, and tourism is observably one of the most important growth engines in the city.  The mayor of Jerusalem has set a most ambitious goal of attracting 10 million tourists to Jerusalem a year. Several efforts are being carried out simultaneously in an attempt to meet this goal: the municipality’s tourism budget has been significantly increased, tourist services are being upgraded, permits were granted allowing the construction of thousands of new hotel rooms, a marketing and public relations program is being drafted, and the number of cultural, music and art events is being expanded.

The decade which is quickly coming to a close was uneven, to say the least, for Jerusalem’s tourism industry. The year 2000 brought a record-high number of tourists to Jerusalem, until the outbreak of the second intifada in September, 2000, after which the number of tourists visiting the city dropped dramatically.  The gradual improvement in the security situation during subsequent years and the eventual near elimination of terrorist attacks allowed tourism volumes to inch back up.  By 2008, tourism in Jerusalem had exceeded the previous record, set in 2000.  While numbers waned slightly in 2009, Jerusalem’s tourism scene bounced back in 2010.  During the first six months of 2010, some 650,000 guests spent the night at Jerusalem's many tourist hotels – 28% above 2009 figures.  The good news is that most of the increase in the number of visitors who stayed at a hotel was due to foreigners, the number of which increased by 40% compared with a modest 2% increase in the number of Israelis who stayed the night at one Jerusalem’s hotels.

The number of room nights sold in Jerusalem in 2010 also spiked, reaching 1,920,000 during the first six months of the year.  These figures demonstrate a 31% increase over the comparable time period in 2009.  The ratio of room nights sold to foreigners compared with those sold to domestic tourists was 86% to 14%.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the average number of nights foreigners spent at a hotel was almost double that of Israeli travelers, with 3.3 nights compared to 1.7.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Any apartments to let?

Inbal Doron

Many Israeli households live in a rental apartment and struggle to keep up with soaring rental prices.  In 2009, prices shot up in the rental apartment market, as compared to previous years.  So what do renters pay for their apartment in Jerusalem?  In 2009, the average monthly rent for a 2.5-3 room apartment in Jerusalem was 2,900 NIS – 21% higher than the national average for a comparable apartment (2,400 NIS), 70% higher than the average in Haifa (1,700 NIS), and 21% lower than the average in Tel-Aviv (3,500 NIS).  The price gap remains similar across apartment sizes between cities in Israel.  The average rent for a 3.5-4 room apartment in Jerusalem was 3,700 NIS, compared to a national average of 3,200 NIS, and an average of 2,300 NIS in Haifa and 4,900 NIS in Tel-Aviv.

The upsurge in the 2009 rental market was felt throughout Israel, without exception.  Still, Jerusalem saw the largest increase, which reached between 17-21% in 2009 alone, depending on apartment size.  The average increase in Israel as a whole ranged between 15-18%, and the increase in Tel Aviv was 14-18%.  Haifa saw a more modest price hike of 10-13% on average.  These low, two-digit percentage price hikes translate into hundreds of sheqels.  For example, a 3.5-4 room apartment in Jerusalem, which averaged a rent cost of 3,100 NIS in 2008, cost 3,700 NIS per month by 2009.

The price hike in the rental market coincided with the upsurge in the housing market.  These changes have had a negative effect on the number of homeowners in Israel.  According to the Israel Ministry of Construction and Housing, the percentage of homeowners in Israel dropped from 73% in 1995, to a low of 66% in 2008.  This, in turn, has increased the demand for rental apartments and, consequently, rent prices as well.