43rd Jerusalem Day kicks off in capital

The capital is Israel's most populous, densest city.

Jerusalem Day parade 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Jerusalem Day parade 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Forty-three years after the battle for Jerusalem during the Six-Day War, the country will mark Jerusalem Day on Wednesday with a wide array of ceremonies and festivities throughout the capital and beyond to mark the city’s reunification on the 28th of Iyar in 1967.
Throughout the course of the day, Knesset members and Jerusalem municipal officials will teach classes in  Jerusalem schools on the subjects of Zionism, leadership, excellence, and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
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Starting at 10 a.m., free tours of City Hall will be offered, including tours of historic buildings throughout Safra Square, the City Council chamber, the lookout points over Jerusalem from City Hall, and a visit to the miniature model of the city center.
The tours, which will be offered  at 10 a.m., noon and a final tour at 2 p.m., will be accompanied by actors, whose performances will add color and variety to the tour. Visitors wishing to participate in the tours are requested to meet by the palm trees at the entrance to Safra Square before each start time.
At 3:30, Mayor and Mrs. Nir Barkat will host the traditional Jerusalem Day reception at the Tower of David Museum. The event is open to the public.
At 4, the annual Jerusalem Day “Flag Dance” parade will kick off. The parade, which will feature separate boys’ and girls’ marches, begins at Sacher Park for the girls at 4 p.m. (the procession will begin moving out at 5).
At 6:30, the procession will meet up with the boys’ march and begin marching through Paris Square, Agron Street and Tzahal Square before making its way into the Old City.
At 7:30, the procession will reach the Western Wall plaza, where festive dancing will commence.
At 6, a national ceremony at Ammunition Hill will be held to mark the holiday. President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Barkat, and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi are scheduled to attend.
At 8, the Yakir Yerushalayim Award Ceremony will begin at the Tower of David in the Old City. At the ceremony which will be attended by the mayor, 12 residents of Jerusalem who have made a contribution to the lives of city’s residents will be given the award. The event is for invited guests only.
Jerusalem is Israel’s largest city, with 774,000 residents, according to the latest data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Some 488,000 (63 percent) of those residents are Jews, 261,000 (34%)are Muslims and 15,000 (2%) are Christian. An additional 10,000 (1%) ofJerusalem’s residents are not classified by religion at the InteriorMinistry.
The total fertility rate (average number of births per woman over herlifetime) of Jerusalem women stands at almost four children per woman(3.96), which is nearly one child higher than the national average of2.96.
According to data from 2008, marriage rates in Jerusalem are alsohigher than the national average and the divorce rate in Jerusalem islower than average.  In June 2009, there were approximately 193,000apartments in Jerusalem, representing about 249 dwellings per 1,000residents. This rate is lower than that recorded in each of thecountry’s four other major cities.
Housing density in Jerusalem is greater than the other major cities(with over 200,000 residents) in the country. According to data from2009, the average of persons per room in the capital was 1.18, comparedwith 0.92 in Ashdod, 0.81 in Rishon Lezion, 0.75 in Tel Aviv – Yafo and0.75 in Haifa (the national average was 0.92).
Some 44% of Jerusalem residents commute to work by car, nearly 32%commute using public transportation and 12.4% arrive at work by foot.
The percentage of elementary school pupils in haredi institutions hasrisen steadily from 57.3% in 2003 to 64% in 2009. Twenty percent ofJews over the age of 20 in Jerusalem identify themselves as “haredi,”29% as “religious,” 30% as “traditional,” and 21% as “secular”.
Half (50%) of Jerusalem residents over the age of 20 believe that theirneighborhoods had become more religious in recent years, compared with22% in Tel Aviv, 23% in Haifa and 18% in Rishon Lezion.