Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Jerusalem Files

Dafna Shemer
Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies

In 2014 a total of 33,400 investigation files were opened in Jerusalem, 43% of which were crimes involving property, 36% involved public order, and 17% involved personal injury.
Of the investigation files that were opened, there 12 murder cases, 25 attempted murder cases, 179 rape cases, 447 cases of drug dealing, 1,622 home invasion cases, 2,078 vehicle theft cases, and 3,075 cases of malicious damage to property.
Most crimes against property take place within residences (2,734), on the streets of the city (2,282), and in stores (766).
This year the Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem has obtained from the Israel Police crime statistics by area, thus revealing where the “hotspots” of crime are located. The data present the location of the crime (where the investigation file is opened), rather than the criminal’s place of origin.
A total of 2,449 investigation files were opened in the city center (comprising 7% of files opened in Jerusalem), an area with many businesses and a good deal of human traffic during the day. The area with the second largest number of investigation files was Arnona, Mekor Haim, where 1,364 files were opened.
If you’re looking for a safe area within the city, very few files were opened west of Mekor Baruch: a total of 12. In the neighborhood of Um Tuba only 31 investigation files were opened.
The area with the largest number of investigation files regarding property crimes was Nahalat Shiva (440 files), followed by the Talpiot Industrial Zone (332 files), and the eastern central business district – Bab Al-Sahara (329 files).
The area where the largest number of files were opened that involved vice and sex crimes was the municipality compound (162 files).
A large number of files involving public order were opened in East Jerusalem. In the Muslim Quarter of the Old City a total of 773 investigation files were opened. This is the area within the Old City where Friday prayers take place. Beit Hanina had 487 investigation files opened, and in Bab Al-Sahara 320 investigation files were opened.
Stay safe!

Translation: Merav Datan

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Gender and Religiosity

Caroline Kahlenberg
Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies

A new study released by the Pew Research Center found that across the world and across religions, women are generally more religious than men. The study, “The Gender Gap in Religion around the World,” found that in all of the 84 countries for which data were available, women are more likely or equally likely as men to engage in daily prayer. Israel however, is the sole outlier in this trend: it is the only country surveyed in which a higher percentage of men than women reported engagement in daily worship, either public or private.  
This gender difference also exists in other categories relating to religious practice in Israel. Another recent Pew survey on Israeli society showed that Israeli Jewish men reported higher engagement in religious activities than women. For example, while 37% of Israeli Jewish men attend synagogue weekly or more, only 18% of their female counterparts do the same. 
These gender gaps in religious activity may be partially attributed to certain norms in Judaism that prioritize men’s attendance in worship over women’s; for example, among Orthodox Jews, a minyan of ten men is required to conduct communal worship services, whereas women are not counted or halakhically required to take part in this practice. 

Notably, however, the gap does not only exist with regard to worship attendance: even among activities that are not tied to male-only commandments, Israeli Jewish men were often recorded as being religiously engaged at a slightly higher rate than Israeli Jewish women. For example, 64% of Israeli Jewish men fasted all day last Yom Kippur, while 57% of Israeli Jewish women did the same. These women are also more likely to travel on Shabbat (65%) compared to their male counterparts (59% of whom travel on Shabbat). On the question of the importance of religion in one’s life, Israel also stood as an outlier in the Pew survey. In Israel, 35% of Israeli Jewish men reported that religion was “very important” to them, as compared to only 25% of Israeli Jewish women. In all other countries surveyed (aside from Mozambique), women were recorded as more likely or equally likely as men to consider religion as personally very important. Notably, among American Jews, these differences were not as apparent. 
The gender gap regarding the religiosity of Israeli Jews is also evident in their religious identification, according to the results of the Central Bureau of Statistics’ (CBS) annual social survey, though the gap in this area is quite narrow. Jewish men in Israel defined themselves (or were defined by particular criteria such as school system and residential neighborhood) as ultra-orthodox (9.8%) or religious (10.9%) at a slightly higher rate than Jewish women (among whom 8.4% identified as ultra-orthodox and 10.3% identified as religious). At the same time, Jewish women were more likely to identify as traditional (39.3%) than Jewish men (33.8%).
While the gender gap in religiosity and religious identification is clear with regard to Israeli Jews as a whole, when we take a look at the breakdown of religious practice according religious sector, the data reveal a more complicated picture. For example, the rates of prayer among Jews not defined as orthodox or religious reveal a trend in which the gender gap narrows and even reverses as the sector becomes more secular. According to the social survey, among Israeli Jews defined as "traditional-religious," 89.1% of men reported that they prayed always or frequently, as compared to 64.9% of women. Among those defined as "traditional but not so religious," this gap hardly existed: 38.9% of men and 37.6% of women attended prayer. And among those defined as secular, the trend reversed: Women reported praying always or frequently (12.7%) at a higher rate than men (8.2%). Moreover, importantly, this overall religious gender gap does not hold true for members of other religions in Israel. According to the CBS data, women of other faiths (the majority of whom are Muslim) identify as more religious than their male counterparts: 65.4% of non-Jewish women identified as very religious or religious, while only 45.1% of men did the same. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Jerusalem – Toward a fiscal balance

Glenn Yago, Senior Director, Milken Innovation Center
Jacob Udell, Research Analyst, Milken Innovation Center

In a word, Jerusalem is unique.  It is at once a world-class brand, a paradox of every type, and the obsession of about one-quarter of the people on the planet.  It is also a city – a municipality to almost 900 thousand people. Jerusalem is also structurally insolvent.  
With a 2016 operating budget of NIS 5.15 billion, Jerusalem received NIS 320 million to cover its operating deficit in 2015 and NIS 516 million in 2016.  In the simplest terms, this is 10% percent operating deficit. On its face, such a deficit is a big budget problem.  There is not enough money to pay the current bills – and to take care of long term needs and obligations such as infrastructure spending, pension obligations, and other legacy costs. With about one-third of the city’s population at or below the national poverty level (compared to one-fifth nationally, and just over one-tenth in Tel Aviv) and the high concentration of land use in government and non-profit activities, total property tax exemptions more than double that of Tel Aviv and Haifa – in 2015, such exemptions totalled over NIS 587 million, or 23% percent of all taxable real estate in the City.  Though Jerusalem businesses and residents who do pay property tax are burdened with rates at almost twice the amount per square meter than in other cities, total property tax collection per capita is still significantly lower than that of other major cities in the country (see chart).  All in all, per capita municipal expenditures in Jerusalem are about half the per capita expenditures in other major cities in Israel.   Jerusalem is like an employee who has to work sixteen hour shifts day after day and get only half the salary.
Each year, the public is treated to the spectacle of the City reaching out to the Government to help it settle its budget woes.  To his enormous credit, the Mayor has taken the position of promoting, leveraging, strengthening, and building the city out of this persistent deficit. 
The 2020 Plan, so called for both its perfect vision and unrealistic deadline, is a robust effort to leverage the region’s strengths, attract private investment, and increase the tax base sufficiently to overcome the budget deficit.  The joint investment of private capital, government, and philanthropy of NIS 1.2 billion over the next decade, along with the corresponding improvements in transportation and access within the city and with other cities on the coast, and the rehabilitation of neighborhoods, will spur economic growth in Jerusalem valued at NIS 4.15 billion. The influx of municipal revenue from new housing, new commercial activities, and new offices, and, yes, even new residents, even while adjusted for escalated costs of municipal operations over this period, is expected to eventually yield a viable operating margin to support the city’s growth and strengthen its financial condition. 
But how to achieve this fiscal balance when the new cash flow will be gradual over a long period of time and the amount needed to get there is so large?  Borrow against this incremental annual cash flow to pay for the needed investments in the city that will make these new sources of revenue possible.  This is a familiar fiscal strategy for cities around the world – New York (1975-1980), London, Chicago (1985-1995), Boston (1990-2010), Paris (1988-1995), Cleveland (1985-1995).  The Government can enable this new fiscal vision for Jerusalem by creating financial tools that create opportunities to investors that understand the long term benefits of a city in fiscal balance.

Monday, July 11, 2016

I Love the Cinema

Alon Kupererd
Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies,

Who doesn’t love the cinema? The massive silver screen, the exciting movies, the dark, the smell of popcorn, and … the accessibility? In the past there were plenty of movie theaters throughout Israel’s city centers and local neighborhoods. There were theaters near one’s home, and one could easily and quickly reach them. With the decline of city centers and emergence of shopping malls during the 1990s, city cinemas also declined, to be transformed into multi-screen complexes located within these malls. During the 2000s movie theaters underwent another evolution, turning into multiplex cinemas with dozens of screens, alongside various other forms of commerce – usually near the outskirts or actually outside of the city. A romantic stroll to the movie theater is no longer practical; rather, one must get into the car or board the bus and take a journey to the massive complex.  

Let us illustrate this trend using the example of the Gush Dan region. Cinema Industry Association data show that a decade or so ago Tel Aviv had 47 movie screens. Today 18 remain. The demand for the cinema has not disappeared, but it has been redirected by movie theater chains to the outer layers of the metropolis. The cities that now welcome moviegoers are Ramat Gan, Ramat HaSharon, and Rishon LeZion. The country’s first multiplex cinema was built in Ramat HaSharon (at the Glilot Junction), and by 2005 it already had 19 screens, which became 30 within a decade. In Ramat Gan, where the second multiplex cinema was built, the number of screens grew from 8 in 2005 to 17 in 2015. In Rishon LeZion the number of screens increased from 12 to 47, the largest number of screens in an Israeli city. Most of the new theaters are located in the outskirts of these cities (in Ramat HaSharon – Glilot Junction; in Ramat Gan – Ayalon Mall; and on the western edge of Rishon LeZion).

In other cities, too, multiplex cinemas resulted in movie theaters vanishing from the city center. In Haifa the number of screens declined from 29 in 2005 to 23 in 2015. All are concentrated in the multiplex near the Check Post Junction on the outskirts of the city (it should be noted that in 2016 Haifa will again have a movie theater inside the city, when a complex with 17 screens will be opened within a shopping mall). In Jerusalem the opening of two new multiplexes during the past two years – which, in contrast to other cities are actually rather centrally located (Givat Ram and Hebron Road) – increased the number of screens from 16 in 2005 to 29 in 2015.

As to the number of moviegoers, the decrease in number of screens in Tel Aviv resulted, as expected, in a sharp decrease in the number of moviegoers, from about 1.2 million in 2005 to only about 818,000 in 2015. In contrast, in Haifa and Jerusalem the emergence of multiplexes resulted in a significant increase in the number of moviegoers. The opening of Jerusalem’s first multiplex in 2014 sparked an increase in the number of the city’s moviegoers, from some 497,000 in 2013 to about 1.04 million in 2014, and rising further to 1.23 million in 2015. 

In sum, it seems the People of the Book are not afraid of a long trek for a good movie.

Source: Cinema Industry Association in Israel