Report on salaries highlights wide income gaps

40 poorest towns are Arab; men still earn much more.

Residents of Jerusalem might be better off living in towns in the periphery such as Arad, Dimona or even Yeroham, where the average monthly salary for men is at least NIS 1,000 higher than that for those living in the capital, according to a paper published this week by the Tel Aviv-based, nonprofit organization the Adva Center. Titled "Salaries by Locality," the report provides a comprehensive list and some analysis on average salaries in more than 160 cities and towns. "This report paints a picture of the living standards in each location instead of just looking at the macroeconomic level, which might indicate that there has been economic growth," the report's co-author Etty Konor-Attias told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday. It also shows the inequalities between men and women and between those living in the center of the country and the periphery, she added. Based on data from the National Insurance Institute and focused on 2005, the report found that the exclusive town of Savyon housed the nation's highest earners. Home to many of the country's showbiz celebrities and business executives, the average man's salary was no less than NIS 34,342 a month before tax, and for women it was NIS 11,630. At the other end of the spectrum, the report found that in the small Druse town of Majdal Shams on the Golan Heights men earned NIS 4,560, while the women made NIS 3,132. The 40 lowest income towns and cities were all Arab-speaking. The lowest-earning Jewish town was haredi Modi'in Illit, where men's salaries averaged NIS 5,759 and women's NIS 3,395. Perhaps the most interesting statistic concerned Jerusalem. Known as the country's poorest large city, with more than a third of the population living below the poverty line, the average male salary was barely NIS 8,000 per month, and for women it was NIS 5,906. This trailed far behind that of Negev development towns Arad - men NIS 9,255, women NIS 4,913; Dimona - men NIS 9,331, women NIS 4,620; and Yeroham - men NIS 8,494, women NIS 4,494. In Nahariya, men earned an average of NIS 9,719, and women NIS 5,531. "We broke the localities down into groups," said Konor-Attias, who compiled the report together with Tatiana Kolorov. "Arab villages had the lowest incomes, followed by those in development towns, and then cities that were more developed achieved the highest earners. Jerusalem, however, with its high numbers of haredi and Arab residents who are mostly unemployed, is a category unto itself." "Most of the high earners in the capital live in satellite towns," she noted. The report also highlights the gaps between men's and women's incomes. In Savyon, for example, women earned only one-third of what their male counterparts, and in the richest 20 cities and towns, women brought home less than half of what the men did. In the places were men's salaries were lowest, there was less difference between the genders' average incomes. "Hopefully this report will encourage politicians to push through legislation that will ensure a more equal balance in incomes between the sexes," Konor-Attias said. "They say that it happens in theory, but in practice we see that it's not true."