Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Time of Loneliness

Yoad Shahar

The High Holiday period is a happy family time for most of us. After the holidays, though, a sense of loneliness sometimes descends on us. Even though loneliness is a personal experience that differs for everyone, it is interesting to see which Jerusalemites tend to experience it more intensely than others. The annual Social Survey of the Central Bureau of Statistics asked respondents if there are situations in which they feel lonely, and whether there are people on whom they can rely for help if they do feel a sense of distress or crisis. 

We would assume that married people feel less lonely, and indeed, evidently 36% of the singles in Jerusalem feel lonely often or sometimes, compared with just 31% among married individuals. At the same time, if you have already married, its best to stay married, as 47% of divorced or separated individuals and 68% of widows and widowers reported feeling lonely. This data seemingly romanticizes married life, yet even marriage does not promise that life will be a rose garden, as it does not guarantee that there will be someone to lean on during a crisis. Only 77% of those married said they have somebody on whom they could rely in a crisis, compared with 80% among divorced people, 83% among the widowed, and 87% among singles. 

It is customarily believed that in traditional societies the feeling of togetherness is greater than, or replaces, the sense of loneliness. Yet when we examine the data for Jerusalem by population group, we find that feelings of loneliness are greater among the city’s Arabs. Among Arabs, 39% said they often or sometimes feel lonely, compared with only 25% among Jews. Regarding the question of whether they have someone to rely on in a time of crisis, apparently only 52% of Arabs have such a person, compared with 94% of Jews. 

The extent of religious belief or the nature of religious identity also affects one’s feelings of loneliness and the sense that there is someone to rely on. Among the ultra-orthodox (haredim), only 10% feel lonely often or sometimes. Among the religiously observant, 28% feel lonely, and among the secular this figure is 29%. Likewise, 96% of the ultra-orthodox reported having someone on whom they can rely, compared with 94% among the religiously observant and 91% among the secular. 

Loneliness, as well as the sense that one has or does not have someone to lean on, is related first and foremost to the state of reality. Yet it is also a product of the manner in which we experience and understand reality. The data reveal that feelings of loneliness and of having someone to rely on in crisis are linked to the lifestyle we have chosen for ourselves, which shapes both our reality and the manner in which we experience it. 

Translation: Merav Datan

Fight for Your Right (To Pay Tax)

Dafna Shemer

Jerusalem’s Arnona (municipal tax) is particularly high, the highest in Israel. In 2014 Jerusalem’s total due Arnona was 1,173,000,00 NIS (New Israeli Shekels) for 212,000 housing units. Arnona discounts amounted to 26% of the total, with 40% of the discounts going to residents from Jerusalem neighborhoods of low socio-economic status (a socio-economic status of 2-5, with 20 being the highest status, according to the 2008 census). 

An examination of Jerusalem’s lower socio-economic neighborhoods reveals an interesting picture regarding the exercise of rights on the part of East Jerusalem versus West Jerusalem residents. These neighborhoods are geographically and socially distinguishable as areas populated by the ultra-orthodox (haredi) in West Jerusalem and by Palestinians in East Jerusalem. 

Most (72%) of the properties in West Jerusalem that belong to residents of lower socio-economic standing have a ranking of 4 or 5, whereas in East Jerusalem only 49% of the properties belong to residents with a ranking of 4 or 5. 

Building on the assumption that people with the same socio-economic status would receive the same discount in Arnona, given their income, we examined lower socio-economic neighborhoods in West Jerusalem and in East Jerusalem. We examined how many discounts were granted on the basis of income, as a proportion of the total number of apartments in the neighborhood. Evidently, the percentage of Arnona discounts based on income, as a proportion of the total number of apartments, is higher in West Jerusalem (39%) than in East Jerusalem (26%). For the sake of comparison, we note that in neighborhoods of higher socio-economic standing (15-19), 6% of the apartments receive a discount on the basis of income. 

Both East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem neighborhoods show a decrease in the percentage of discounts granted on the basis of income as the socio-economic ranking of the neighborhood rises. East Jerusalem neighborhoods with a socio-economic status of 2 received discounts for 27% of the apartments therein, whereas West Jerusalem neighborhoods with a ranking of 2 received discounts for 42% of the apartments therein. East Jerusalem neighborhoods with a socio-economic status of 5 received discounts for 15% of the apartments therein, while for West Jerusalem this figure was 35%. 

When we examine the total Arnona collected, in relation to the total due without discount, amidst residents of lower socio-economic standing, we find that collection rates in East Jerusalem (72%) are lower than in West Jerusalem (85%). Here too, as the socio-economic status increases from 2 to 5, Arnona collection rates increase. For higher socio-economic rankings (15-19), collection rates are higher too – at 96%. 

In sum, one might conclude that residents of West Jerusalem are more effectively exercising their rights vis-à-vis Arnona than East Jerusalem residents. And perhaps as a consequence, Arnona collection in West Jerusalem is more effective and efficient than it is in East Jerusalem.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Youth Movements in Jerusalem

Lior Regev

It is often said that the youth of today differ from the youth of the past – that the current generation, raised in the lap of the internet and smart phone, is glued to the monitor, holed up in its room, and communicates through icons.

Many perceive youth movements as a relic of a past world that embodied activities outside the home, the spirit of cooperation, friendship, love of the land, initiative, and care for other. In 2006, the last year in which a national survey took place, the number of youth movement members in Israel stood at 176,000. According to the Ministry of Education's list of recognized youth movements, a total of 13 movements operated in Israel in 2014. 

In 2015 a total of 11 youth movements operated in the Jewish sector in Jerusalem. The movements reflect the social diversity of the city's population: four are secular (HaTzofim – the Scouts; HaNo'ar HaOved VeHalomed – Students and Young Workers; HaShomer HaTza'ir – the Youth Guard; and HaMahanot HaOlim – Immigrant/Ascending Camps); two national-religious movements (Bnei Akiva and Ariel); one youth movement affiliated with the traditional-religious movement (No'am – Traditional-Religious Youth); and four ultra-orthodox movements (Bnot Batya; Pirchei HaDegel; Heichalei Oneg; and Ezra). 

The youth movements receive support from the Ministry of Education and the Jerusalem Municipality, with the size of the movement serving as one of the determinants for the extent of support. It is difficult to assess the number of members, given the changing and fluid nature of participation in activities. The data are therefore based on the movements' own reports to the Social Services Department of the Jerusalem Municipality.

The movement Bnot Batya is exceptionally large, numbering 17,410 girls in 2015. The reason for this is the inclusive nature of ultra-orthodox education, in which the movement serves a complementary educational function within the Beit Yaakov network of schools. The second largest movement is also ultra-orthodox in nature – Pirchei HaDegel – with a membership of 4,578 boys, ages 9-13. Taking into account the memberships of Ezra (2,042) and Heichalei Oneg (890), we find that the total number of youth movement members in the ultra-orthodox sector is the highest in the city, at 24,920. 

Bnei Akiva is the third largest youth movement in Jerusalem, and the largest within the national-religious sector. In 2015 it had 3,881 members. Taking into account the membership of Ariel (1,493), we find that the total membership in national-religious movements is 5,374.

Among secular youth movements, HaNo'ar HaOved VeHalomed is the largest, in part because of its widespread activity in East Jerusalem neighborhoods within the Arab sector. In 2015 it had a total of 3,495 participating members. HaTzofim, which is the largest movement in the country as a whole in terms of membership, ranks second in size after HaNo'ar HaOved VeHalomed in Jerusalem, with 2,484 members. Taking into account the memberships of HaShomer HaTza'ir (2,240) and HaMahanot HaOlim (282), we find that the total membership in secular youth movements is 8,501.

No'am, which operates in the spirit of the traditional-religious movement, has 233 members, making it the smallest of the youth movement categories in the city's Jewish sector. 

I wish to thank Louis Goldberg, Director of the Research and Development Department in the Society and Youth Division of the Jerusalem Municipality, for the data and his help.


· Louis Goldberg, Research and Development Department Director, Culture and Arts Manager, Municipality of Jerusalem

· List of recognized youth movements funded by the Ministry of Education in 2014, Ministry of Education website

· Sheleg Mey-Ami, N. (2010). Youth Movements in Israel. Knesset Research and Information Center

· Websites of youth movements: HaTzofim, HaShomer HaTza'ir, HaMahanot HaOlim, HaNo'ar HaOved VeHalomed, Bnei Akiva, Ariel, and Ezra.

Jerusalem's Commuters

By Omer Yaniv

Morning. You’ve finished your coffee and sent the kids off to school. It’s time to go to work. But if you live in Jerusalem, your commute to work might not be so simple: Is your workplace within walking or biking distance from home? Or must you rely on a car or public transportation? As of 2013 about 61% of Jerusalem residents indicated, through the Central Bureau of Statistics Social Survey, that they have an inconvenient commute to work. One of the main reasons for this is the high percentage of Jerusalem residents who do not own a vehicle: 46%, compared with 33% for Israel at large, as of 2013. Thus, many of the city’s residents depend on transportation provided by their employer, on carpools, or on public transportation in order to reach their workplace. 

The percentage of Jerusalem residents who require more than half an hour to reach their workplace is 45%, significantly higher than the national average of 33%. By comparison, the percentage of Tel Aviv and Haifa residents whose work commute takes more than half an hour is 25% and 28%, respectively. These data reflect the efficiency of public transportation systems in various cities during morning rush hour, but they might also indicate the importance of workplace proximity to home in choosing a place to live, or the lack of employment options near the city. 

According to the 2008 census of the Central Bureau of Statistics, about 51% of Jerusalem’s residents commute to work by private vehicle (compared with 54% of Tel Aviv residents and 58% of Haifa residents), while 34% use public transportation or transportation arranged by the employer (compared with 28% of Tel Aviv residents and 27% of Haifa residents), and only 13% commute by bicycle or foot (comparable to the figure for Tel Aviv residents, and compared with 10% of Haifa residents). The census data also indicate that the average distance to work for Jerusalem District residents is slightly below the national average (11.4 km versus 13.6 km, respectively). Given that Jerusalem residents make greater use of public transportation, we can certainly point to a correlation between the long work commute time in Jerusalem and the extensive use of public transportation on the part of the city’s residents.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Women's Education and the Labor Force

Caroline Kahlenberg

A recently publicized Science and Technology Ministry study revealed that in almost half of Israel's universities, women made up only 20% of the faculty. While this severe under-representation of women is not new, it occurs today even at a time when women in Israel are more highly educated on average than men. The gap between women's educational achievements and their situation in the university labor market invites us to explore the relationship between gender, education, and the workforce more broadly. 

Over the past decades, women in Israel have been acquiring higher education at an increasing rate. In 1969-1970, women made up 46.9% of all first-degree students at institutions of higher education, reaching 54.1% in 1989-90 and 56.6% in 2012-13. In 1980 only 32% of Israel's doctoral students were women, but by 2012-13 this figure rose to 52.1%. 

Yet despite the steep increase in women's education, the situation in the labor market still contains major gaps. As the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute's 2014 Gender Index shows, contrary to popular opinion, women's educational achievements do not alone necessarily translate into better pay, job positions, or status in the labor market. In 2012, the average monthly (gross) salary in Israel for men (NIS 11,400) was 50% higher than the average for women (NIS 7,600). While part of this can be attributed to the fact that women work fewer hours than men, the gap also exists in hourly pay: In 2012, the average hourly wage in Israel for men (55 NIS) was 17% higher than it was for women (47 NIS). 

Jerusalem's labor force contains a slightly different story. Because of the special status of its workforce (with especially low participation of Jewish men and Arab women), the gender gap in workforce characteristics is not as stark. In 2012, the average hourly wage for men in Jerusalem (47 NIS) was comparable to that for women (46 NIS), and the gap between men and women's monthly salary was only 25% (as compared to 46% in Tel Aviv, and 61% in Haifa). 

If we look at a different aspect of Jerusalem's labor market—at overall labor force participation among the entire 24-54 year-old population, rather than at characteristics within the workforce—we can see a major gap between Jerusalem men's and women's participation according to educational attainment. As the graph displays, even when comparing men and women who have completed the same level of education, labor force participation rates are consistently higher among men. However, as women's educational attainment increases, so does their participation in the labor force, which narrows the gap between men and women's participation. Out of those who last attended primary and intermediate school, only 10% of women and 81% of men participate in the labor force. Among those with secondary school education, 43% of women and 89% of men participate in the workforce. Meanwhile, 71% of women and 91% of men with post-secondary school education, and 80% of women and 90% of men who last attended academic institutions, participate in the labor force.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"Market" Survey

Dafna Shemer

Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies

Recent years have seen increased tourism in markets throughout the world. The local market, Mahane Yehuda, is no exception. We examined the mix of businesses in the market, so as to see how this trend has manifested here. 

The boundaries of the market are not clearly delineated, but we defined them for the sake of this assessment as covering the streets between Jaffa Road to the north and Agripas to the south, Ets-Haim (the roofed part of the market) to the east, and the Iraqi market and Mahane Yehuda Street to the west. In all we examined a total of 370 businesses situated within an area of 19 dunams (1 dunam is approximately ¼ acre). By way of comparison, the Malha Mall has nearly 230 stores spread out over some 20 dunams in a building with two and a half floors of commercial space. 

Most of the market’s businesses still focus on selling food. Fruit and vegetable stands are the most prevalent type of stall (82 businesses), constituting 22% of all market businesses. There are 25 kiosks for nuts, seeds, and snacks (7% of businesses), 22 butchers (6%), 18 bakeries and 18 spice shops (5% each), 12 fish shops (3%), 9 pastry shops, and 7 pickled goods stalls. In all, these comprise over half the businesses in the market (52%). 

The market has a wide variety of businesses, including 24 clothing and accessories stores, 15 housewares stores, 3 stores for cellular telephone accessories, 3 jewelry stores, 2 lottery stands, and one synagogue (on Ha-Egoz Street). 

Specific types of stores are concentrated in certain areas. Thus, for example, if you have a craving for fish, chances are good you would buy it on Ha-Tapu’ach Street, which has four fish shops (and until recently a fifth), a third of the fish shops in the market. If you want to buy meat, you likely looked for it on Ha-Harov Street, which has five butchers, a quarter of the market’s total. The Iraqi Market and Georgian Market have large concentrations of fruit and vegetable shops.

If you want to take a break and eat something, you’ll find the widest variety of restaurants and pubs near the intersection of Ha-Tut and Ha-Egoz Streets, where your options range from falafel to kubbeh, fish and chips, or jahnun. A total of four food service chains operate in the market, three falafel stands, and one ice cream stand. Some of the restaurants and pubs stay open after the market stalls have closed, thus extending the hours of market activity. 

If you make plans to meet someone near the Ethiopian spice shop, you’d better be specific: each of the parallel streets Ha-Shazif, Ha-Afarsek, and Eliyahu Banai has a shop of Ethiopian spices, legumes, and dried foods. All findings are current as of our tour and examination of the market, after we used the services of Google’s street view as a basis. 

Translated by Merav Datan

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Will the Dream Soon Come True?

Ruth Abraham

Recently it seems that the Ethiopian community has raised its head. What began as a video that circulated through the internet, depicting racially motivated police brutality, turned into a protest reminiscent of the violent riots taking place simultaneously in Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States. Data of the Central Bureau of Statistics indicate that the cities in Israel with the highest percentage of Ethiopians relative to the total population of the city are Kiryat Malachi (16.2%), Afula (8%), and Kiryat Gat (7.9%), all of which are characterized by low socioeconomic status. Jerusalem’s Ethiopian community constitutes 0.7% of the total population, and the city takes second place – after Tel Aviv – in a ranking of localities with 2,000 or more residents of Ethiopian heritage. The Ethiopian community’s protest raises questions with respect to all new immigrants in Israel. 

From 2010 to 2013 a total of 67,000 new immigrants moved to Israel from throughout the world: 43% from the former Soviet Union, 14% from the United States, and 12% from Ethiopia and France each. A total of 14% settled in Jerusalem, which ranks third as a destination city for new immigrants, after Tel Aviv and Netanya. Analysis of data from the Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem reveals that the percentage of new immigrants from countries with high socioeconomic status who choose to settle in this city is equal to or greater than their percentage among new immigrants to Israel during these years. This trend is reversed among immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union.

The immigrants who settled in Jerusalem during these years – 52% of whom were from the United States and France and not one from Ethiopia – chose to take up residence primarily in neighborhoods with high socioeconomic status. In Talbiya the proportion of new immigrants who arrived during these years constitute 9% of the Jewish population of the neighborhood; in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, City Center, and Rehavya they constitute 7% of the population (in each neighborhood); and in the German Colony they account for 6%. In contrast, a broad look at the years 1990-2013 reveals that the neighborhood with the highest percentage of immigrants as a proportion of its Jewish population is Pisgat Ze’ev North, with a total of 4,900 residents, accounting for 30% of the neighborhood’s Jewish population. Most of the immigrants in this neighborhood arrived during the years 1990-1999, primarily from the former Soviet Union, and they number 3,700 residents, constituting 23% of the neighborhood’s Jewish population. There are 980 immigrants who arrived during the years 2000-2009, accounting for 6%, while the immigrants who arrived during 2010-2013 – who, as noted, represent more than 6% of the affluent neighborhoods in the city center – constitute only 1.4% of the Jewish population of Pisgat Ze’ev North. 

Jerusalem does indeed offer a home to new immigrants, but primarily those from wealthy countries. At the same time, immigrants from other countries actually stay away from the city. One might attribute this to Zionist considerations motivating the first, but one cannot ignore the socioeconomic exclusion that results from housing prices and employment opportunities in the city. 


1. “The Ethiopian Population in Israel – Selected Data on the Occasion of the Sigd Holiday,” Central Bureau of Statistics, November 2014

2. Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem, Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 2015

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Jerusalem Workforce

Yair Assaf-Shapira

May 1st, which marks both International Workers' Day and Jerusalem Day, presents a good opportunity to take a look at the workforce in Jerusalem. According to new Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem, to be published on Jerusalem Day, there were 293,200 workers employed in the city in 2013. This number is higher than the number of workers in Haifa (167,000), and lower than the number in Tel Aviv (387,800).

The majority of those who work in Jerusalem (224,700) also reside in the city. However, about a quarter of them (23%, or 68,600 workers) live outside of Jerusalem and commute to the city for work. Of these, 30,600 live in Judea and Samaria; 17,500 in the Jerusalem District (adjacent to the city from the west, including Mevaseret Zion, Beit Shemesh, Abu Ghosh, Kiriat Yearim and the Mateh Yehuda regional council); 16,600 in Tel Aviv and Israel's center; and approximately 3,800 reside in the north, the south and in Haifa. While it is clear that more people commute from areas closer to the city, a significant number of workers also come from the center to work in Jerusalem. In comparison, the number of Jerusalemites who work in Tel Aviv is lower: 10,300 people.

Of the workers employed in Jerusalem, 154,400 are men and 138,800 are women. In general, men's commutes to work tend to be longer than those of women, and the greater the distance, the less likely women are to travel it. Indeed, most of the workers coming from outside the city to work in Jerusalem are men. From Tel Aviv and the center, for example, 9,700 men travel to work in Jerusalem as compared to 7,000 women. The areas closer to the city present a different picture: from Judea and Samaria, a similar number of women (15,400) and men (15,200) commute to Jerusalem, and from the Jerusalem District, more women (9,500) commute to Jerusalem than men (8,000).

This trend in terms of distance and gender also holds true regarding the commute in the opposite direction, i.e. for those who live in Jerusalem and work outside of the city. This direction is traveled by 24,300 men, and only by 9,700 women, but, like we see above, closer numbers of male (4,800) and female (3,100) workers commute to the areas closer to Jerusalem (Jerusalem District and Judea and Samaria), while almost four times more men (8,100) than women (2,200) travel to work in the center and Tel Aviv.

The new train line connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, currently under construction, may change the picture by increasing the number of workers traveling between the cities in both directions.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Where the streets have names

Omer Yaniv

How are street names chosen? Here in Jerusalem, a city with a rich history and religious symbolic importance, we can presume that there are not enough streets, alleys, roads, avenues and squares to commemorate the thousands of figures, spots and events that deserve to be remembered. At present there are over three thousand named streets and sites in the city. To successfully face a growing demand to memorialize so many people, two committees are active in the Jerusalem Municipality, a public municipal name committee and an advisory committee, which together decide whether or not the contribution and legacy of the nominated figures justifies the commemoration. Lately the municipality has been making an effort to give names to the many nameless streets of East Jerusalem, with the participation of the local residents.

A theme in street names can be found in some Jerusalem neighborhoods. Intellectuals of the Middle Ages, for example, can be found in Rehavia; the tribes of Israel, alongside biblical judges, characterize Bak'a; and animals are the theme in Malcha.

Looking at the street names in Israel as a whole, we see that plant names, and especially the seven species, are the most common. Other popular choices are the names of precious stones, animals, Jewish and Israeli leaders, military units and more. The most common street names in the country are HaZayit - 'The Olive' (225 streets around the country); HeGefen - 'The Vine' (213); HaRimon - 'The Pomegranate' (204); and HaTamar - 'The Date Palm' (174). Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, is the most popular person among street names, with 79 streets named after him. The woman who is commemorated in the highest number of streets is Hannah Senesh - 41 streets in Israel are named after her. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sha-Bus Rider

Erela Ganan

Lately, we have witnessed growing civic activity aimed at expanding the operating time of public transportation to include service on Shabbat. But will there be significant demand for a Shabbat bus? 

To find out, we can first look at the number of people using public transport on weekdays. In its last census (conducted in 2008), the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) found that 41% of the workers in the country commuted to work using alternative modes of transportation, rather than their own private car: 1,115,900 people traveled to work via bus, train, shuttle, taxi, bike, or simply walked. In Jerusalem, the rate is even higher, at 50%. In addition, public transport is used by thousands of school children, soldiers, students, elderly people and others, but data on these groups' rate of use are missing. 

Second, we want to find out the public's position on travel during Shabbat. In the CBS' social survey of 2009, which focused on religion, 53% of the Jewish respondents aged 20 and over stated they support activation of public transport on Shabbat. It is important to note that non-Jewish people, who are not likely to object to Shabbat buses, comprise 25% of Israel's residents, and 38% of Jerusalem's population.

Jewish respondents who stated they were traditional or secular were asked if they ride on Shabbat (observant Jews were assumed to avoid it). Eighty-seven percent of the traditional-loosely observant answered that they do not (or scarcely do) avoid traveling on Shabbat, and surprisingly, as many as 42% of the traditional-observant also stated they do not (or scarcely do) avoid it. Altogether, 84% of these populations stated they do not stay away from traveling on Shabbat, which means that 45% of the Jewish public aged 20 and over in Israel, or 2.5 million people, do not avoid it. This, along with the fact that 41% of the workers use alternative transit to commute to work (as stated above), leads us to assume that approximately 18% of the people in these groups are potential clients for public transportation, should it run on the 61 days every year that it ceases to function – weekends and Jewish holidays (not including Yom Kippur). This population sums up to over a million persons. In the meantime, those who are Jerusalemites can use the East Jerusalem transportation system, active seven days a week.

Source: Central Bureau of Statistics

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

It’s Off to Work We Go

Alon Kupererd

An examination of employment structures in various cities reveals that often a city will specialize in a specific industry or sector, one in which a relatively large percentage of its residents is employed. We can examine these specializations and compare cities using a specialization index.

The specialization index for a city in a specific industry or sector measures the ratio between the percentage of workers in that industry in the city (out of the city’s total number of employees) and the percentage of workers in that sector in the state as a whole. A value higher than 1 indicates relative specialization, that is, the employment weight in this sector is higher than the average for the country.

Analysis of data from the Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem reveals that the sector in which Jerusalem had the highest specialization index for 2012 was that of community, social, and personal services – 1.51. This figure is lower than the highest value for Tel Aviv – 2.89 in banking, insurance, and financial institutions – or for Haifa – 4.41 in the water and electricity sector. It is markedly evident that in contrast to other major cities, Jerusalem does not have a prominent specialization sector and its employed population is more evenly scattered among various sectors.

An interesting question that arises in this context is whether Jerusalem, as the capital, specializes in the public service sector (which includes public administration, education, healthcare, and welfare and nursing services). The data indicate that indeed Jerusalem’s specialization index in these areas is highest among the major cities, at 1.24, yet it is not high in relation to other specializations and evidently does not constitute a distinct specialization of the city. 

One branch of the public service sector is education, where Jerusalem’s specialization index is 1.35, making it the city’s second-highest specialization sector. In contrast, Tel Aviv’s specialization index for education measures 0.54, which is almost the lowest of the city’s indices. In Haifa the percentage of employees in the employment sector is identical to the national average. The variance in Jerusalem within this sector results from the city’s high percentage of schoolchildren and preschoolers. 

A review of specialization indices reveals that Jerusalem is not a business or technological epicenter. In the high-tech industry, Jerusalem’s index measures 0.67. This is a low figure in itself, and it is lower than the figure for Tel Aviv – 0.92 – or Haifa, which has the highest figure among the major cities, at 1.35. In the business service and real estate sector, Jerusalem has an index of 0.92, after Haifa – 1.25 – and Tel Aviv – 1.87. Additionally, in the sector of banking, insurance, and financial institutions, Jerusalem has an index of 0.53, while the figure for Haifa is 0.82, and for Tel Aviv, where as noted it is the city’s distinct specialization sector, it is 2.89.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

May I Take Your Order?

Lior Regev

Most of the Jewish population in Israel keeps kosher. The 2009 Social Survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics, which focused on religion and religiosity, found that 64% of Jewish respondents (age 20 and above) stated that they keep kosher to a large or very large extent.

Recently the issue of kashrut has surfaced as a factor that contributes to the cost of living in Israel. Restaurants and other eating establishments that seek to attract customers who keep kosher are required to meet the restrictions of kashrut established by the State of Israel, which are enforced by the Chief Rabbinate and its agents in local religious councils. In Jerusalem the issue of kashrut is often perceived as part of the discourse on the character of the city. In 2011 a communal kashrut initiative began to operate in Jerusalem ("Hashgaha Pratit" or "private supervision”), and today it has nine participating businesses. 

A short internet search yields a number of websites from which we can learn about the supply side of establishments that sell food in localities throughout Israel. The database of the “Rest” website ( lists 667 eating establishments in Jerusalem. Tel Aviv has 1,573, Haifa has 373, and RishonLeZion has 278. In keeping with the image of a city where every corner hosts a café, the number of eating establishments in Tel Aviv is exceptionally high in relation to Israeli standards. Some of the reasons for this are the size of the metropolis and the culture of eating outside the home that is prevalent within the local business community and the young entertainment-seeking community.

There are differences in the extent to which kashrut is observed by eating establishments within each of the three major cities in Israel. According to the website “Rest” a total of 486 (73%) of Jerusalem’s businesses are kosher, compared with 181 (27%) that are not. Tel Aviv has 468 kosher establishments, comparable to the figure for Jerusalem, but these represent only 30% of the total; it also has 1,105 non-kosher establishments (about 70%). In Haifa a total of 96 establishments (only 26%) are kosher, and 277 (74%) are not kosher.

Classification by type of food reveals that the percentage of kosher-certified businesses that sell meat is lower than the total percentage of kosher businesses. This reflects the relative difficulty of observing kashrut for meat, as compared with kashrut in the context of milk. A total of 158 (69%) meat-serving establishments in Jerusalem are kosher (compared with 73% of the total number of eating establishments in the city), and 71 (31%) are not kosher. In Tel Aviv, 31% of meat-serving eating establishments are kosher, while in Haifa the figure is 17%, and in RishonLeZion it is 39%.

Interestingly, the percentage of kosher businesses that offer delivery is higher than the overall percentage of kosher businesses. In Jerusalem 185 (85%) of the businesses that offer delivery are kosher, in Tel Aviv 42% are kosher, and in Haifa the figure is 33%. This higher percentage can be explained by looking at the types of food offered for delivery – pizza, hamburgers, and so on – which are perceived as more populist and are quickly prepared. Such business places cater to a wider target audience and rely on relatively lower profits per unit.

Sources of data:
Rest website (Zap Group):

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kibbutz Life: Love It but Leave It?

Dafna Shemer

Israel has 267 kibbutzim, of which 243 belong to the HaTenu’a HaKibbutzit (Kibbutz Movement), 18 belong to the HaKibbutz HaDati (Religious Kibbutz Movement), and the rest to other organizations. As of 2013, a total of 157,525 individuals reside in kibbutzim, constituting nearly 2% of the total population of Israel. In the last year the kibbutz population increased by 3% (Israel’s population increased by nearly 2%). As of the end of 2013, the smallest kibbutz – Kibbutz Niran – has 71 members, and the largest kibbutz – Ma’agan Michael – has 1,768 members.

Metropolitan Jerusalem contains 10 kibbutzim with 6,167 members, constituting 0.5% of the population of the metropolis. The first kibbutz founded in Metropolitan Jerusalem was Kiryat Anavim, in 1920. Half the kibbutzim in the metropolitan area follow the model of kibbutz shitufi (the traditional, cooperative kibbutz system).

According to a survey conducted by Haifa University, 29% of kibbutzim follow the cooperative model – that is, property is owned by the entire community, with equality and participation in production, consumption, and education – and 71% follow the model of kibbutz mitchadesh (a “renewed” kibbutz, which has undergone privatization).

Over the years there has been a decline in the support of kibbutz members for the establishment of a community neighborhood adjacent to the kibbutz (where original founders or city folk and non-members might reside): in 2002, two-thirds of those surveyed supported the establishment of such a neighborhood, whereas in 2014 only 42% supported the concept. In cooperative kibbutzim 28% support the concept while in renewed kibbutzim 48% support it. 

So how many really think about leaving the kibbutz? Only 7% stated that they often consider leaving, a decrease from the 2002 survey, in which 18% stated that they often consider leaving. A total of 15% stated that they sometimes think about leaving, and 78% stated that they rarely think about leaving the kibbutz (compared with 53% in 2002).

Kibbutzniks (kibbutz members) think that their kibbutz is a good place to live: 64% supported this statement, and another 29% think that the kibbutz is a very good place to live, while 7% think that the kibbutz is not a good place to live. In cooperative kibbutzim only 3% think that the kibbutz is not a good place to live. Since 2002 there has been an increase in the number of respondents who think the kibbutz is a good place to live. 

In recent years there has been an increase in the percentage of kibbutzniks who think that “absorption of kibbutz children” (accepting the adult children of kibbutz members as new kibbutz members in the same kibbutz) will harm the continued existence of the kibbutz, from 19% in 2009 to 28% this year. This year, in contrast, 57% said they think that “absorption of kibbutz children” will help the kibbutz. In cooperative kibbutzim 53% think that “absorption of kibbutz children” will harm the kibbutz, whereas in renewed kibbutzim 18% think it will cause harm.

Source of data: Michal Palgi and Eliette Orchan, Public Opinion Poll in Kibbutzim, 2014, Institute for Research of the Kibbutz and the Cooperative Idea, Haifa University

How Much Do Jerusalem Residents Pay to Live near the City Center?

Ruth Abraham

In late November the Central Bureau of Statistics published data about the completion and commencement of construction during the first nine months of 2014. The data reveal that the number of housing units completed in Jerusalem is the largest in Israel, constituting 6% of all completed construction in the country. Likewise, Jerusalem is also in first place in terms of housing units begun, constituting 9% of new construction. It is important to note that the population of Jerusalem comprises about 10% of the overall population of Israel.

The “Madlan” index of housing prices provides an indication of typical prices at which apartments are sold. The index is based on business transactions listed in the real estate database of the Tax Authority after being optimized and sorted. The index reveals that housing prices in Jerusalem (for the months examined – April to September 2014) are among the most expensive in Israel. The price per square meter in Jerusalem is 40% higher than in Haifa, 57% higher than in Be’er Sheva, and about 20% higher than in Rishon LeZion. However, it is lower by 45% than the price in Tel Aviv.

The selection of a place of residence and the purchase of an apartment often depend very much on the distance from the city’s main business center. Some prefer a place far from the center in order to benefit from the option of a larger home with a garden or a view, whereas others insist on an urban lifestyle and prefer to be near the center. These decisions have a bearing on key aspects of our lives, such as transportation, service consumption, trade, and the like.

Evidently, in Jerusalem there is a positive correlation between proximity to the city center and housing prices. The closer one is to the center, the higher the housing prices per the index. This trend indicates that the average home buyer in Jerusalem is prepared to part with 35,331 shekels in order to be one kilometer closer to the city center. Accordingly, we see that in neighborhoods associated with a high socio-economic status – such as Mishkenot HaLeum, Rehavia, Talbieh, Nayot, Beit HaKerem, and Old Katamon – the prices are higher than in neighborhoods of a comparable socio-economic status that are located farther away from the city center – such as Ramat Sharet, Talpiot, Arnona, and Holyland.

Jerusalem neighborhoods may be divided into ultra-orthodox and secular neighborhoods. The price trend which characterizes ultra-orthodox neighborhoods is the opposite of the one described above. As the distance from the center increases, the housing prices in these neighborhoods rise. This trend is in part due to the larger apartments in the outer neighborhoods.

Sources of data:
Madlan website:
Construction in Israel, Central Bureau of Statistics