Yishai: Huge gap between government's words and deeds on capital

Zionist council plans to create a cross-party council that will strengthen Jerusalem and major settlements in the area.

Yishai 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Yishai 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
There are enormous differences between government declarations regarding Jerusalem and what it has done for the capital, Shas chairman Eli Yishai said Sunday. "Between what is said and what needs to be done for Jerusalem, the gap is immense," Yishai told a meeting of the Zionist Council of Israel held on the eve of Jerusalem Day. "To our great misfortune, today neighborhoods of Jerusalem are no longer in the public consensus," said Moshe Ben-Atar, the council's director-general, at the conference held at the Jewish Agency's Jerusalem headquarters. The Zionist council plans to create a cross-party council that will strengthen both Jerusalem and major settlements in the area. Some 18,400 Jews left the capital in 2007, compared to 12,000 who moved to the city, leaving the overall annual migration level at 6,400, the same number of the year before, according to data released by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies on Sunday. Nearly 300,000 Israelis have left Jerusalem over the last decade and a half, an annual survey released earlier this year found. A total of 272,300 Jerusalemites, mostly Jews, left the city between 1990 and 2006, according to the 2006 Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem put out by the institute. The statistics reflected a trend of Jewish migration from the city to the suburbs that began in the 1980s. The primary reasons cited by people who have left the capital in years past are the search for better job opportunities and more affordable housing. The statistics show that more than 70 percent of Israelis believe Jerusalem is the nation's most beautiful city, even though 60% are concerned that it is becoming haredi. One-third of the city's nearly 500,000 Jewish residents are haredim. Also on Sunday, a poll commissioned by an Israeli group that advocates Palestinian rights in the city found that a majority of Israelis favor ceding Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem for peace so long as no territorial concessions are made on holy sites. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they would agree to give Palestinians control of east Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods provided no concession were made on holy sites, according to the Ir Amim poll. Seventy-eight percent of those polled said Jerusalem was already de facto divided.