Friday, March 30, 2018

Housing Inventory

Yair Assaf-Shapira

Planning is required if you want to build apartments. When there is a dearth of apartments, a question that arises is: Is there a lack of apartments today because the scope of the planning wasn't wide enough or because the construction process is too slow and can't keep up with the planning? This debate is at the core of the argument about the future of the Committee for Preferred Areas for Housing (CPAH). Following a government decision, the Planning Administration and the Israel Land Authority provide the public with a database which includes all the apartments that exist "on paper" and their various planning stages, via the website This database is the residential planning inventory. We have tried to examine the scope of the Jerusalem apartments that are currently in the planning stages.

The planning inventory of all the apartments in Israel stands at 436,700 apartments, of which 8,900 (2%) are in Jerusalem. The cities with the largest planning inventories are not the big cities which comprise the nuclei of the metropolitan areas – in those areas they have "run out" of room to build – but rather mostly medium-size cities such as Ashkelon, where the number of planned apartments in the inventory stands at 27,800, Kiryat Ata (21,400), and Lod (15,900). The apartment inventories in Haifa and Tel Aviv are lower than that of Jerusalem, and number 6,500 and 3,900 respectively. With respect to the apartment inventory in Jerusalem, for 3,400 apartments (38%) the plans have already been approved, while the others are in earlier planning stages.

Will construction dwindle in the big cities once the apartments in the current inventory have been built? Not necessarily. The planning inventory included with this data does not take into account urban renewal or National Masterplan 38 (NMP38), which as we saw in this column, encompasses within its framework alone a further 3,550 potential new apartments in Jerusalem. It seems that urban renewal, or "compressing" the existing building situation is the principal option for housing development in the city.

Apart from that, a large portion of those who will live in the apartments yet to be built will come to the metropolitan centers for work, studies, leisure, etc. When examining the residential inventory according to metropolis, it emerges that most of the apartments in Israel's planning inventory (57% of the total number of apartments in the inventory) are located in the four metropolises. Thus it seems that the metropolitan centers are guaranteed a growing and developing hinterland, although while in metropolitan Tel Aviv there are 107,100 apartments in the inventory, in metropolitan Jerusalem there are only 27,800.  And furthermore, fewer than 60% of the apartments in the inventory in metropolitan Haifa and Jerusalem are in relatively advanced planning stages (with approval or lodging of objections), while more than 70% of the apartments in Tel Aviv and Beersheba are already in these advanced stages.

Translated by Gilah Kahn

Friday, March 23, 2018

Women in hi-tech

Shachar Bar

Hi-tech sector is an important growth engine for the Israeli economy. The number of hi-tech companies in Jerusalem has been consistently increasing since 2013, with an overall growth rate of 52%.

Companies in Jerusalem account for 6% of the entire Israeli hi-tech industry. For the last four years, 100 new hi-tech startups have been created each year.
Is this growth reflected in the percentage of women employed in the industry? Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

In Jerusalem, 84% of the hi-tech companies are small, with up to 20 employees. Although 39% of the workforce in these companies are women, we need to take into consideration that many of the administrative positions are filled by women. In new companies, however, only 29% of employees are women. This difference stems mainly from the composition of these new companies. New companies tend to employ people only in professional positions, since they have little need for administrative help, and as a result, the percentage of women among employees is lower. In addition, data show that only a tiny percentage of entrepreneurs are women, which is another reason for the low number of women employed in new small hi-tech companies. In hi-tech companies in Jerusalem,  61% of women work in professional positions. In contrast, 71% of the women in new companies are employed in professional positions.

The total number of workers in the Israeli hi-tech industry rose from 272,200 in 2013 to 310,300 in 2016. The percentage of women employed in the industry has remained stable throughout the different regions in Israel. For example, in Tel Aviv, women make up one-third of employees in hi-tech companies, a statistic that has remained constant in recent years.

In Jerusalem, however, the situation has improved in recent years. In 2016, 39% of hi-tech workers were women, which is 3% higher than it was in 2013. In fact, in the biotech sector, women make up the majority of employees. In new biotech companies, women make up a whopping 59% of employees. One possible explanation for the high number of women working in biotech is their preference for studying subjects such as life sciences, as opposed to subjects like computer sciences.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Taking Account of Bank Accounts

Yair Assaf-Shapira

In a world where most bank transactions can be dealt with over the Internet, are physical banks a vanishing phenomenon? We might assume that for a growing sector of the population there is no need for a physical branch, but based on the crowds at some of the banks it seems that there are still those who avail themselves of the services.

According to data from the Banking Supervision Department at the Bank of Israel, there are 1,294 active bank branches in Israel today, 206 (16%) in Tel Aviv, 124 (10%) in Jerusalem, and 69 (5%) in Haifa. In 2017, 15 bank branches were opened in Israel, while 46 were closed (including one which was opened that same year), so that there was a negative balance. It should be noted that some of the branches that appear on the list are not general service points, but specialize, providing mortgage or investment services, while some don't supply any services at all, such as the administrative branches.

A comparison of the number of branches in a specific locality to its population size creates an index that presents the integration between 1. The quality of the banking services provided to the residents of the locality who need to use the bank, and 2. The centrality of the locality as a provider of services in its area. In Tel Aviv there are 4.7 bank branches per 10,000 residents (and it is second only to Rosh Pina in the number of branches per 10,000 residents). Like Rosh Pina, the other localities, following Tel Aviv, are relatively small, but function as commercial centers for the surrounding regions – such as Kochav Yair (4.4 branches to 10,000 residents) and Kfar Ya'assif (4.1). In Jerusalem, the ratio is relatively low, and stands at 1.4, and also among the other large cities, only in Ramat Gan (3.5) and in Haifa (2.5) is the ratio higher than 2. It appears that the network of branches is organized in such a way that people will not necessarily receive service in the neighborhood where they live, but also won't have to travel too far to get what they need. Tel Aviv's prominence is also lower, when taking into account that its daytime population is 40% larger than its permanent population.

One banking service that requires a physical presence at the bank is the withdrawal of cash from a bank machine. There are 2,100 such machines in Israel, and with respect to this service as well, the small and medium-size cities stand out, such as Rosh Pina (17 machines per 10,000 people) and Kfar Ya'assif (7.2). In Jerusalem there are 211 machines per 10,000 people.

Translated by Gilah Kahn

Friday, March 9, 2018

Daytime Populations

Yair Assaf-Shapira

According to population statistics published by the Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2016, 874,200 people lived in Jerusalem, half that number in Tel Aviv (435,900) and one-third that number in Haifa (279,200 residents).

These are the numbers of permanent residents in these cities, but since they are major metropolitan areas, the number of people who spend the day in these cities rises every morning, when tens of thousands of people enter the city for employment, education and other activities. These metropolitan cities function as employment centers for people who live in nearby commuter towns.
According to the CBS Labor Force Survey, the city with the highest number of incoming daily commuters is Tel Aviv. Some 257,000 people commute to work in Tel Aviv every day and live elsewhere.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Goodbye Organic Garbage, Hello Compost

Lior Regev

In the small country of Israel, garbage is a big problem. The unsorted waste that we throw in the trash is collected by trucks that move it to sorting stations, and at the end of the process much of it is transported to landfills. The trucks' journeys through the city streets require energy, contribute to air pollution and traffic jams, while the landfills take up large amounts of space that could be used for better purposes. One of the solutions to the mountains of waste is separation at source.

Over the past decade, an increasing number of composters have been springing up in public parks, building courtyards, and private homes in Jerusalem. A composter is a container for organic waste, such as scraps of fruits and vegetables and other organic matter, which comprises some 40% of household waste. This organic matter decomposes in the composter and can be used as fertilizer in gardens.

The distribution of compost bins in Jerusalem began in 2008, at the initiative of residents of the Beit Hakerem neighborhood who came together as a non-profit organization. In 2012, the "MahapchYarok (Green Revolution)" – which is responsible for dissemination of information, sale of containers, and operation and maintenance of composters, received municipal recognition and support from the Ginot Ha'ir Community Council and the Municipality. Today, according to data supplied by "MahapchYarok" via director of the initiative Jonathan Plitmann, more than 5,400 households in Jerusalem make use of the containers, either frequently or occasionally. The containers may be divided into the following four categories: containers that operate in parks and schools; containers located in apartment buildings; composters that operate in community gardens and other public spaces; and containers used in private households.