Jerusalem continues to grow, haredim and Arabs strong in city's workforce

'Jerusalem is a microcosm of our existence here, its population a representation of the demographic diversity of the state of Israel'

An orthodox Jewish man walks next to a vendor at one of the entrances to Jerusalem's Old City March 9, 2020 (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
An orthodox Jewish man walks next to a vendor at one of the entrances to Jerusalem's Old City March 9, 2020
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
Jerusalem, Israel’s largest city, continued to grow even larger in both population and industry in the past year, with more haredi and Arab residents joining the workforce and beginning university studies, according to this year’s Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem, released by the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research (JIPR) on Monday, ahead of Jerusalem Day.
Israel’s capital continued to be Israel’s largest city this year, with 919,400 residents, making it twice as large as Tel Aviv and three times as large as Haifa. The city also has the largest Jewish (569,900 residents) and Arab (349,600 residents) population of any city in Israel.
The number of people emigrating from Jerusalem also dropped for the second year in a row and 46% of those who did emigrate moved to localities in the Jerusalem area. At the same time, 12,800 people immigrated to the city.
For the first time since 2015, the annual growth rate of the Arab population of Jerusalem decreased, narrowing the gap between the annual growth of the Jewish and Arab population even further. While 10 years ago, the gap between the two growth rates stood at 1.9% (Jewish population annual growth 1.0%; Arab 2.9%), it now stands at 0.6% (Jewish population annual growth 1.8%; Arab 2.4%).
Meanwhile, the number of Arab students in the city increased by 33%, with a 25% increase in Arab students at the Hebrew University and a 52% increase at academic colleges. Unemployment rates among working Arab residents were extremely low until the coronavirus outbreak, with only 3% of working-age Arabs unemployed.
While Jerusalem has the country’s largest population of elderly people, they still only make up 9% of the city’s population, compared with 15% in Tel Aviv and 20% in Haifa.
“The upheaval in the emigration [rates] is joyous and encouraging news, we will continue to invest in the coming years as well. We continue to see a halting of emigration and the entrance of more and more young families and hi-tech workers to the city.” said Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion. “In the coming years, we will continue to develop housing, the economy, industry and education and to push forward Jerusalem in all indices for the citizens of the capital and the entire State of Israel. It is a matter of time until Jerusalem turns into the most attractive city in Israel.”
Gender inequality in the workforce is less noticeable in Jerusalem than in other cities in Israel, according to the report. A 20% wage difference was reported between men and women in Jerusalem, compared to a 33% difference throughout Israel and a 32% difference in Tel Aviv. While the percentage of women working in hi-tech in Jerusalem (5.1%) is a bit lower than among men (7%), the difference in Tel Aviv and Haifa is almost twice as much. Haredi women make up 80% of the haredi workforce in the city’s hi-tech sector.
Jerusalem remains Israel’s second-biggest financial center after Tel Aviv, with 9% of all employees in Israel working in the city. The number of employees commuting from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem increased over the past three years. The number of commuting Tel Avivians increased by 43% in the past year, while the number of Jerusalemites commuting to Tel Aviv did not increase in the past year.
Some 80% of employed Arab men and a third of employed haredi women are at high – or medium – risk of losing or changing their jobs as a result of technological developments, according to the yearbook. About 190,000 employees throughout the city work in such jobs.
At least 14 companies in the city are working on projects related to the coronavirus outbreak. Among hi-tech companies in Jerusalem, 33% are involved with life sciences, with 44 involved in digital health, 41 involved in health products and 38 involved in pharmaceuticals. Overall, 405 hi-tech companies operate in the city.
For the first time, Jerusalem surpassed Eilat in the number of hotel rooms in the city (11,100), giving it the largest number of hotel rooms out of any city in Israel. The past year was also marked by a continued increase in the number of tourists who stayed at hotels in the city.
“The Statistical Yearbook published by the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research deals with all aspects and all neighborhoods of Jerusalem. East and west, new and old, religious and secular, Jewish and Arab, this is the real Jerusalem, lest we forget it – street-level Jerusalem,” said President Reuven Rivlin. “Jerusalem is a microcosm of our existence here, its population a representation of the demographic diversity of the state of Israel. We must find a way to create a conversation, to connect, to build partnerships.”
Lior Schillat, director of the JIPR, said that “The demographic data that we are releasing today in our Statistical Yearbook shows that Jerusalem today is a preview of Israel’s demographics in two or three decades. In this sense, Jerusalem is a ‘national lab’ for the interaction between President Rivlin’s four tribes paradigm.
“We have the opportunity to create new relationships and to forget old paradigms, in order to lead the whole of Israel towards a new reality for all of its residents,” Schillat continued.
“The report shows us the that the positive changes we have been working towards for the last few years are slowly happening,” Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum told The Jerusalem Post. “The Arab community in Jerusalem is integrating into higher education and good quality jobs slowly but surely, our hi-tech sector is growing and more and more young people are choosing to stay in our city. We will keep working hard to get the city back on track after the corona crisis and keep the positive momentum and growth moving forward.”
Jerusalem Day, commemorating 53 years since the reunification of the City of Gold, will be celebrated somewhat differently this year as the traditional “flag march” through the Old City of Jerusalem is not possible due to the coronavirus outbreak. Instead, smaller events organized by the National Union party and the Bnei Akiva youth group will take place throughout Israel while following Health Ministry guidelines, according to Makor Rishon.
The Am K’Lavi association has filed a suit with the High Court of Justice to allow 3,000 people to march from the center of the city to the Western Wall by circling the entire Old City. The participants would be required to follow Health Ministry regulations.