Friday, December 22, 2017

A Secondhand Car from Jerusalem?

Lior Regev

According to data from the Israel Vehicle Importers Association, the year 2016 saw a record high in the delivery of vehicles in Israel. The purchase of new vehicles contributes to the replenishing of the stock of vehicles that travel on Israel's roads: new vehicles equipped with sophisticated safety systems, which emit lower levels of pollution, and are quieter and more economical. However, as long as the purchase of new vehicles is not balanced out by old vehicles being taken off the roads, this isn't necessarily good news. The general rise in the number of vehicles leads to increased congestion on the roads, which in turn leads to an increase in the transportation burden and emissions of pollutants, and further irritates the already frayed nerves of the Israeli driver.

In light of these implications, it is interesting to see where car inventory is renewed and where it lags behind with aging vehicles. With respect to the big cities, the answer seems clear – according to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2016, about 40% of the cars whose owners live in Jerusalem were a decade old or older. That is in comparison with 25% of the vehicles in the entire country, 21% in Haifa, 15% in Tel Aviv, and 14% in Rishon Lezion.

The aging of the vehicle inventory in Jerusalem also stands out in terms of the average ages of the vehicles: In Jerusalem the figure stands at 8.6 years. The average in the country is 6.5, with the figure standing at 5.9 in Haifa, 4.8 in Tel Aviv, and 4.6 in Rishon Lezion.

When we examine the annual purchasing trends, dramatic gaps are revealed between Jerusalem and the other large cities. It seems that the newest vehicles of all are driven on the roads of Rishon Lezion: Nearly half (47%) of all the vehicles in the city reached the road between 2014 and 2016, as compared to 43% of the vehicles in Tel Aviv, and a third (33%)of the vehicles in Haifa. The parallel figure in Jerusalem stands at 16%. A review of the previous year reveals that 18% of the vehicles in Rishon Lezion reached the road in 2016, as opposed to 16% in Tel Aviv, 12% in Haifa, and 6% in Jerusalem.

We tried to find various explanations for this phenomenon. Maybe it's the leasing companies that are registered in the center of the country and work tirelessly to renew their inventory; or it might be the result of the generous credit loans and the low interest rates that the banks offered the buyers (the ones that Avi Bar-Eli and Oren Dori wrote about in January 2017 in an article in TheMarker). It may be that unlike the benefits granted in personal contracts from private companies in the central part of the country that encourage the purchase of a new car, the tax benefits in the public sector in Jerusalem and the weak buying power of the residents, encourage people to hold onto their old cars.

Or maybe it's just the Jerusalem nostalgia, the difficulty to disconnect from the past and to embrace change – as embodied in the renowned pun and prohibition against any change to customary Orthodox practice, that "new is forbidden by the Torah," written by the Chatam Sofer in the 1800s – or the innate modesty, and the god-fearing nature of Jerusalemites, that cause its residents to cling to a 1989 Subaru. Perhaps.

Translation: Gilah Kahn

Friday, December 8, 2017

Where's the High-Tech?

Yair Assaf-Shapira

In 1995, there were 9,800 people employed in the high-tech sector in Jerusalem, according to the publication "The Development of the High-Tech Sector in Israel, 1995-2014" published recently by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). In the same year, in the entire country there were 115,900 people working in the sector, so that Jerusalem high-tech employees comprised 8.4% of the total. Is that many or few? The number of workers in all sectors in Jerusalem, as compared to all workers in Israel, was higher (10%), so it may be said that Jerusalem is more prominent in other fields of employment.

Nineteen years later, in 2014, the number of those working in the high-tech sector in the city rose significantly, and reached 15,200 employees. Does Jerusalem stand out more in the high tech sector? The percentage of those who work in high-tech who are employed in Jerusalem decreased (from 8.4% to 5.3%), but the percentage of those employed in Jerusalem as compared to in the entire country (in all sectors) also decreased (from 10% to 8.8%). All in all, the prominence of high-tech, defined as the ratio between the two percentages, decreased (from 0.8-0.6).

Which cities are most prominent in the high-tech sector? The percentage employed in high-tech in Tel Aviv as compared to the entire country is 11.6%, while those employed in all sectors in Tel Aviv, from all those employed in Israel, is similar, at 11.4%. The ratio is 1.02, meaning that Tel Aviv stands out in the high-tech sector in just about the same way as it stands out in other sectors. The cities in which the high-tech sector is especially prominent are Rehovot (with a 2.3 ratio) and Petach Tikva (1.9). This means that, when considering employees, the weight of these cities in the high-tech sector is approximately twice their average weight  (it should be noted that smaller cities weren't part of the survey, and therefore Herzliya and Ra'anana were not taken into account).

In Rehovot and Petah Tikva, the high-tech sector was also prominent in 1995, but are there any cities that managed to highlight the sector over the past nineteen years? It appears that there are. Netanya managed to increase the prominence of the high-tech sector from 0.7 to 1.4, and Haifa increased it from 0.9 to 1.3. The reverse trend also exists, in the case of Ramat Gan for example, where in 1995 the prominence of the high-tech sector was high (1.3) and in 2014 it went down to 0.7.

In the employment sector, and in high-tech in particular, changes are constantly occurring. Even since 2014, which is the cutoff for the data in the recent CBS publication, things have continued to change. In Jerusalem, the large Israeli technology company Mobileye was acquired by Intel a few months ago, and the new complex that was subsequently approved is expected to employ thousands of people. In addition, it was announced that Rafael, a weapons development company, will establish a development center in Jerusalem which is expected to employ several hundred workers. It is possible that these new centers will change the current trend. A detailed examination reveals that following a continuous decline between 1995 and 2009, from 2010 the decline was halted, and a rise in the prominence of the high-tech sector in the city began.

Translation: Gilah Kahn