Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Silver Screen

Omer Yaniv

In 2008, The Jerusalem Film & Television Fund set up operations in the city, tasked with promoting the production of audio-visual works with Jerusalem as their focus, and also expanding employment possibilities for Jerusalemites in the film industry.

The Fund's staff assists local and international filmmakers to produce works for film and television in the city, in the same way that funding bodies and film foundations do in other cities and countries around the world, where they have learned that the production of films and TV series, with their support, contributes to the image of a place, augments the development of a creative society, and positions the locale as a tourist destination. Furthermore, the production of films and TV series in Jerusalem also provides employment for a second circle, comprised of drivers, catering services, hotels, and more.

Between the years 2010 and 2016 the Fund supported the production of eight television series and 48 films, among them international productions (such as A Tale of Love and Darkness, directed by Natalie Portman, and Norman, starring Richard Gere) and animated films, produced at an animation studio that was opened in the city several years ago.

The Fund assists filmmakers by covering some of the production costs, providing guidance and assistance in dealing with bureaucracy, identifying possible locations for filming, and providing connections to industry people who work in the city.

According to statistics based on Israeli filmgoers, the following are among the most successful films from those produced with the support of the Jerusalem Film & Television Fund during the years 2010 to 2016: Footnote, directed by Joseph Cedar, in 2011, viewed by approximately 290,000 people in Israel, with an income of 10.3 million shekels from screenings at cinemas (Footnote was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film); Bethlehem, directed by Yuval Adler in 2013, viewed by 165,000 people in Israel, with an income of 6.3 million shekels; Hunting Elephants, directed by Reshef Levy in 2013, viewed by 164,000 people in Israel, with an income of 4.9 million shekels; and The Kind Words, directed by Shemi Zarhin in 2015, viewed by 150,000 people in Israel, with an income of 4.4 million shekels.

Translation: Gilah Kahn

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Housing Projects – Israeli Style

Dafna Shemer

One of the repercussions of the 2011 housing protests was that recent Israeli governments, and the current minister of finance in particular, have taken measures to lower the housing costs. For now it seems we’re still in trouble, though, given that the total number of monthly salary installments required to purchase an apartment in Israel (according to Ministry of Construction and Housing data for the first half of 2015) amounts to 146, whereas in 2009 the total was 116.

The project Mechir Lamishtaken (“Buyer’s Price”) was launched in an effort to address the growing housing crisis in Israel. Through this project developers compete for discounted land to construct affordable housing for first-time homebuyers who meet certain qualifications, and the apartments are then offered for sale by lottery. As of 2016, a total of 7,600 apartments were offered in tenders. In Jerusalem the total was 501, and tenders will soon be announced for 407 apartments. The (501) apartments offered so far amount to 18% of the annual average for construction starts in Jerusalem over the past five years. The apartments offered so far in the context of Mechir Lamishtaken were mainly in the neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo (86%), and the remainder in Pisgat Ze’ev. The average apartment size is 116 square meters (Sq m.), which exceeds the 2016 average for Jerusalem, at 81 Sq m.

The media has pointed out that apartments in the Mechir Lamishtaken program are generally larger than typical, and so too in Jerusalem: 40% of the apartments offered through the program have 5 rooms, and 35% have 4-4.5 rooms. According to data on construction starts in Jerusalem published by the Central Bureau of Statistics, only 20% of apartments under construction in Jerusalem in 2016 had 5 rooms.

The prices of apartments that have been won by lottery are published on the website of the Ministry of Housing and Construction, and as promised, their prices are lower than average for the relevant neighborhoods. An apartment in this project in Ramat Shlomo costs NIS 12,900 per Sq m. whereas the typical cost, according to the Madlan website, is NIS 19,700 per Sq m. – a difference of 54% per square meter.

In Pisgat Ze’ev the cost for apartments in this project is NIS 9,500 per Sq m., compared with the average cost of NIS 16,200 per Sq m. – a difference of 69% per square meter.

Mechir Lamishtaken reserves a number of places for “locals”: 38% of the lottery winners in Jerusalem are Jerusalem residents, 22% are from the Tel Aviv District, and another 20% are from the Central District. A relatively small proportion of winners are from the environs of Jerusalem: 4% from the Jerusalem District (excluding the city) and 8% from the Judea and Samaria District.

The next tenders are expected to be announced in Gilo and Malha, thus maintaining the trend of using available peripheral lands in implementation of the project. The attractive price and “brand newness” of the apartments are plusses, but the locations are less attractive in terms of public transportation and, as a result, access to places of employment.

Translation: Merav Datan

Monday, July 10, 2017

Who I talk about when I talk about running

Yair Assaf-Shapira

On Friday, March 17, I awoke to a cool, quiet morning that felt like a holiday. There was almost no sound of cars, because many roads were closed for the Jerusalem Marathon. It’s a complicated morning for shopping and errands and a hassle for many of the city’s residents, but for my family it was a happy occasion to set out to the starting line.
According to a Municipality statement, more than 30,000 men, women, boys, and girls participated. The Marathon website recorded about 17,000 runners in the competitive 5, 10, 21, and 42 kilometer races. The overall age range was vast, with about 140 runners aged 70 and above, most of whom registered for the 10K race, and nearly 1,000 runners below age 15, of whom about 900 registered for the 5K race. The runners included children, elderly, and every age in between, but the largest age group – numbering 3,500 – was 15-19 years. These were easily identifiable among the runners: high school students, soldiers, and many young Jewish visitors from abroad. Each of the other age groups had fewer than 2,000 runners.

Men accounted for 63% of all runners in all the races. The highest participation rates for women were in the 5K (where they accounted for 49% of the runners) and 10K (42%) races.

The most popular of the races was the 10K, in which 8,000 men and women participated. This distance was especially popular among the 15-19 year olds, who totaled 2,200. Apparently the 10K is characteristically a young people’s race. So how about the longer races?

It turns out that the longer distances, which require a great deal of mental stamina, actually attract older runners. The largest age groups for both the 21K and full marathon were the 40-44 and 45-49 year olds. In each of these age groups, 800 runners participated in the 21K and 270 ran all 42 kilometers.

This year too, it was a wonderful experience to run with my family (4 people in 4 different age groups) and thousands of other runners throughout the streets of Jerusalem.

Translation: Merav Datan