Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

12 Shevat 5763 - January 15, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Jewish Population of Jerusalem Declining
by Yated Neeman Staff

About 40 percent of children up to the age of four in Jerusalem are Palestinians, and 41 out of 100 births in the capital are to Palestinan mothers. Annual birth rates in Jerusalem's Palestinian sector are much higher than rates in the Jewish population: 31 births per 1,000 people in the Arab population, versus 19 births per 1,000 in the Jewish sector.

Annual figures for Jerusalem, released by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies and the Jerusalem Municipality, show that chareidi children represent a solid majority in the city's pre-school frameworks.

Chareidi children constitute 62 percent of the children in compulsory kindergarten, whereas just 38 percent of Jerusalem's kindergarten children are enrolled in the state and state-religious streams combined.

On average, a Jewish woman in Jerusalem has 3.8 children, whereas the figure for Jewish women throughout the country is 2.6 (in Haifa and Tel Aviv the figure is 1.8).

The numbers are higher in Jerusalem mainly due to the large size of chareidi families which have an average of 7.5 children.

Muslim families in Jerusalem are also large; Muslim women have an average of 4.5 children, which is slightly below the national average for Muslims.

Speaking at a press conference held to mark the release of the city's 2001 data, Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert declared: "I am very worried by Jerusalem's demographic situation. Nothing is more worrisome than this topic. The situation has to be taken in hand, but doing so means wide-scale intervention, and a much more intensive use of national mechanisms than can be done by the Jerusalem municipality."

The new data establish that departures from Jerusalem to live elsewhere lessened in 2001.

In 1999 and 2000, Jerusalem lost an average of 8,000 people a year; this figure dropped to 5,900 in 2001. The reason is that fewer city residents left to live in the territories during 2001. However, in contrast to previous years, more Jerusalemites left the city to live in Tel Aviv.

Jerusalem's population grew 152 percent between 1967 and 2001. The city's Jewish population, which today stands at 456,000, grew 130 percent in this period, while the Arab population, 215,400 today, rose by 214 percent.

Over half the city's residents -- 371,000 Jews and Arabs out of 670,000 -- live in areas that were added to Jerusalem after the 1967 Six-Day War. A minority (46 percent) of the residents of post-'67 neighborhoods are Jewish.

In terms of the city's total Jewish population, 62 percent live within the Green Line boundaries, and 38 percent live in regions that were annexed to the city after the 1967 war.

If the current intifada has harmed tourism to all parts of the country, it has delivered a lethal blow to tourism in the capital.

In the western section of the city, hotel stays have dropped 80 percent over the past two years; in East Jerusalem, the figure is 100 percent. In the western areas, the number of persons staying in hotels dropped from 2.85 million in 2000 to 1.36 million in 2001; in the city's eastern (Arab) parts, this figure dropped from 600,000 in 2000 to 104,500 in 2001.

The statistics indicate a sharp drop in the number of visitors to museums and cultural institutions in Jerusalem. This decrease was apparently caused by the security crisis, and perhaps also by the stagnant economy. In 2001, 1.6 million people visited a defined group of museums and cultural institutions in the city; in 1999, 4 million visited the same group of institutions, and 3.7 million in 2000.


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