Friday, March 9, 2018

Daytime Populations

Yair Assaf-Shapira

According to population statistics published by the Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2016, 874,200 people lived in Jerusalem, half that number in Tel Aviv (435,900) and one-third that number in Haifa (279,200 residents).

These are the numbers of permanent residents in these cities, but since they are major metropolitan areas, the number of people who spend the day in these cities rises every morning, when tens of thousands of people enter the city for employment, education and other activities. These metropolitan cities function as employment centers for people who live in nearby commuter towns.
According to the CBS Labor Force Survey, the city with the highest number of incoming daily commuters is Tel Aviv. Some 257,000 people commute to work in Tel Aviv every day and live elsewhere.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Goodbye Organic Garbage, Hello Compost

Lior Regev

In the small country of Israel, garbage is a big problem. The unsorted waste that we throw in the trash is collected by trucks that move it to sorting stations, and at the end of the process much of it is transported to landfills. The trucks' journeys through the city streets require energy, contribute to air pollution and traffic jams, while the landfills take up large amounts of space that could be used for better purposes. One of the solutions to the mountains of waste is separation at source.

Over the past decade, an increasing number of composters have been springing up in public parks, building courtyards, and private homes in Jerusalem. A composter is a container for organic waste, such as scraps of fruits and vegetables and other organic matter, which comprises some 40% of household waste. This organic matter decomposes in the composter and can be used as fertilizer in gardens.

The distribution of compost bins in Jerusalem began in 2008, at the initiative of residents of the Beit Hakerem neighborhood who came together as a non-profit organization. In 2012, the "MahapchYarok (Green Revolution)" – which is responsible for dissemination of information, sale of containers, and operation and maintenance of composters, received municipal recognition and support from the Ginot Ha'ir Community Council and the Municipality. Today, according to data supplied by "MahapchYarok" via director of the initiative Jonathan Plitmann, more than 5,400 households in Jerusalem make use of the containers, either frequently or occasionally. The containers may be divided into the following four categories: containers that operate in parks and schools; containers located in apartment buildings; composters that operate in community gardens and other public spaces; and containers used in private households.

Friday, February 16, 2018


Omer Yaniv

In a diverse society such as Israel's, we would expect that occasionally there would be friction between different people on the basis of the social variations between the groups to which they belong. We often see that people are discriminated against negatively or positively because they belong to a particular gender or to a particular ethnic or religious group. An examination of the results of the 2016 Social Survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics, reveals that there were more people in the city of Jerusalem who responded that they encountered high levels of discrimination in almost all of the categories (types of discrimination) examined, than there were in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Haifa, and the general population.

Close to 22% of respondents who live in Jerusalem said that they have encountered discrimination based on the religious group to which they belong, as opposed to about 9% in Haifa and in the general population, and about 7% in Tel Aviv. There were also a much larger percentage of respondents from Jerusalem (18%) who said that they had experienced discrimination based on nationality, as opposed to Haifa (12%), the general population in Israel (10%), and Tel Aviv-Jaffa (7%).

One of the main reasons for the differences between the populations in Jerusalem and the other cities, is that Jerusalem is the city with the most diverse population. There is a large Haredi population residing in Jerusalem (about 34% of the Jewish population) and a large Muslim population (about 36% of the total population in the city). The high percentage of Arab residents in Jerusalem (37%) as compared to the entire country (21%), Haifa (11%), and Tel Aviv-Jaffa (4%) explains the high percentage of respondents who encountered instances of discrimination based on nationality in Jerusalem. While only 8% of the Jewish respondents in Jerusalem indicated that they encountered discrimination based on their nationality, more than 38% of the Arab respondents said that they experienced this kind of discrimination. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that a higher percentage of Jerusalem residents will encounter instances of discrimination based on religion or nationality as compared to people in all of Israel and in the other cities, where the percentage of Haredi people and Arabs is lower. Despite the great difference in percentages among Jerusalem and Israel and the two other largest cities, with respect to discrimination based on nationality, the survey revealed that from the percentage of respondents who were asked whether they encountered discrimination related to their nationality at work, only a low percentage (3%) both in Jerusalem and in the rest of the country, reported that they encountered discrimination related to their nationality at work. The only area where the survey found that residents of Jerusalem encountered less discrimination than was encountered in Tel Aviv-Jaffa was in the area of discrimination based on age. About 10% of the residents of Tel Aviv-Jaffa responded that they encountered age-based discrimination, as opposed to 8% of the residents of Jerusalem, and 7% of the residents of all of Israel and of Haifa.  Also at the work place a higher percentage (6%) of the residents of Tel Aviv-Jaffa encountered age-based discrimination than did residents of Jerusalem (about 4%).

Translation: Gilah Kahn

The Social Survey, Central Bureau of Statistics
Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem

Friday, February 2, 2018

Garden City Movement

Shaya Rosenblum

The area of a city that is devoted to parks, gardens, and inviting spaces where people can sit is an indicator of the extent of municipal investment in the quality of life of the residents of the city. For the most part, residents prefer to live close to green areas where they can walk around, sit down, and enjoy recreational activities with their families and friends. In this column I will review the size (area) of the green space (that the municipality actively maintains) in relation to the total number of residents.

First of all, relative to the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa, Jerusalem lags far behind. According to the data from the Jerusalem Municipality, there are 2,820 dunams (1 dunam = 1/4 acre) of green space for which it is responsible (not including passageways and green areas that form barriers between lanes of a road), which constitute 3.84 square meters per resident. In Tel Aviv there are 2,600 dunams of green space, which constitute 6.21 square meters per resident, and in Haifa the situation in this respect is the best of all, with 2,390 dunams, which constitute 8.76 square meters of green space per resident (the data for Tel Aviv and Haifa was culled from the cities' yearbooks).

When examining the data for Jerusalem at the neighborhood level, it is immediately apparent that there are barely any green spaces in the Arab neighborhoods. The Wadi Al-Joz and Sheikh Jarrah neighborhoods have the largest amount of green space per resident among the Arab neighborhoods – 2.09 square meters per resident – while in the neighborhoods of Kafr 'Aqb, Beit Hanina, Sur Baher and Um Tuba there are no parks, pedestrian walkways, gardens, inviting areas to sit, or decorative nooks at all, that are maintained by the municipality.

In general, one can see the difference between the older neighborhoods in Jerusalem, which are urban and more crowded, so that there is less public area available for parks, and the new neighborhoods beyond the center of the city where the area of green space per resident is greater. Thus, in the older neighborhoods, the green space is somewhere between 0.2 and 1.1 square meters per resident, as opposed to in the newer neighborhoods, where it is between 5.6 and 7.8 square meters per resident. One example is the Bayit Vegan neighborhood (0.49 square meters per resident). This neighborhood is located outside the city center, and was established in the 1930s on private land, as a "garden city." Every plot contained a house and a private garden, and none of the land was allocated for public parks. Over the years, the original houses were torn down and larger buildings were constructed in their place. However, it was not possible to allocate land for public green spaces, since the plots were privately owned.

Until the early 1990s, there was no adherence to any kind of policy that would ensure allocation of a satisfactory ratio of green space to each resident. In neighborhoods where the contractors' assessment was that there wasn't much demand for green space, such as in the Har Nof neighborhood (1.77 square meters per resident), only small areas were allocated for public green space. Only in the neighborhoods that were built in the 1990s did the planners ensure that the amount of green space per resident would be at least 5 square meters. 

Translation: Gilah Kahn