Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Master Plan for Jerusalem's Ultra-Orthodox Schools




In December 2009, a master plan for Jerusalem's Ultra-Orthodox schools was published. The master plan, which was prepared by KESHET Inc. – Planning Services, was commissioned by the Jerusalem Municipality to assess future needs and to identify buildings and grounds that can be used for classrooms and school facilities so that the city will be able to provide the education needs of its Ultra-Orthodox students by the year 2020. With an already existing shortage of classrooms today, the shortage is expected to increase as the number of students grows.
For the preparation of the master plan, Ultra-Orthodox school enrollment projections for Jerusalem were calculated on the basis of the neighborhoods of Jerusalem which either currently have or are projected to have a sizable Ultra-Orthodox population by 2020. Students enrollment projections are used to project future demand for classroom facilities. The study also included a survey of current school enrollment and facilities and of available land that might be used for building new schools to serve the Ultra-Orthodox educational system.

In 2005, which was used as the scale mark for the study, school enrollment in the Ultra-Orthodox educational system (for children aged 6-17) was approximately 55,800 – 67% of those students lived in neighborhoods with an Ultra-Orthodox majority. Another 15% of them lived in areas that are "switching over," i.e., areas where the percentage of Ultra-Orthodox as a percentage of the total population is steadily increasing. Another 4% commuted to school from outside of Jerusalem. Only 9% of students enrolled in Ultra-Orthodox schools were residents of other neighborhoods of Jerusalem. (The addresses of 6% were unknown.)

According to the estimates of the master plan, 69,400 students will be enrolled in Ultra-Orthodox schools in Jerusalem by 2020. Neighborhoods of Jerusalem which are expected to have the largest number of school-aged children (ages 6-17) enrolled in Ultra-Orthodox schools are: Ramot Alon with an estimated 8,300 students, Romema-Komuna – 8,200 students, and Ramat Shlomo – 8,100 students.

In order to provide adequate schooling facilities by 2020, the Ultra-Orthodox educational system in Jerusalem will need three new special education schools and an additional 600 classrooms with an area of 77,000 sq m.

Source: Jerusalem Municipality, Master Plan for Ultra-Orthodox Educational
Facilities, December 2009, prepared by KESHSET Inc. – Kidum Sherutei Tichnun


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City Sponsors

Yair Assaf-Shapira

"The Government shall provide for the development and prosperity of Jerusalem and the well-being of its inhabitants by allocating special funds, including a special annual grant to the Municipality of Jerusalem (Capital City Grant)." These responsibilities are listed in the Jerusalem Basic Law. To what extent, then, is Jerusalem dependent on national funding, and to what degree is it fiscally self-sufficient?

In 2008, Israel's government contributed approximately one billion NIS to the ordinary budget of the Jerusalem Municipality (in addition to another 208 million NIS allocated to Jerusalem outside of the ordinary budget). The city of Jerusalem was the largest recipient of national funding of all of Israel's cities, and it also enjoyed high municipal tax revenues. Municipal tax revenues, also known as Major General Fund tax revenues, are collected from taxes and fees that are paid directly to the city such as the Arnona property tax, service fees, business licenses and other taxes. The larger the share that municipal tax revenues play in the city's annual budget, the more the city can be said to be self-sufficient and independent of the central government, and vice versa.

Jerusalem's tax revenues reached 2.18 billion NIS in 2008 – more than any other local authority in Israel that year, with the single exception of Tel Aviv - Yafo (3.42 billion NIS). Haifa, by comparison, the third largest city in Israel after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv - Yafo, collected 1.41 billion NIS. Jerusalem's high municipal tax revenues are undoubtedly connected to its sheer size as the largest city in Israel.

Jerusalem's tax revenues covered 68% of its ordinary budget – a percentage that was significantly higher than any other local authority in the Jerusalem district, excepting one small locality, Har Adar. However, 68% was still low in comparison with Haifa (71%) and Tel Aviv - Yafo (88%). All local authorities in Israel rely on national funding in addition to their self-generated municipal tax revenues for their ordinary budget.

The primary source of self-generated income in all Israeli cities is the Arnona property tax imposed on residential and non-residential properties. In 2008, the city of Jerusalem collected 1.41 billion NIS in property tax (Arnona), as compared with 2.32 billion NIS collected by Tel Aviv - Yafo and 945 million NIS collected by Haifa. Comparatively speaking, residential property taxes accounted for a larger share of Jerusalem's total property tax revenues in comparison with Haifa or Tel Aviv - Yafo, and in 2008, 47% of Jerusalem's Arnona tax revenues were accrued from residential properties.

Source: Central Bureau of Statistics, Press release from 28/04/2010: Local Authorities in Israel 2008



Friday, August 20, 2010

Moshavnik

Michal Korach


The moshav is a type of collective village unique to Israel. It operates as an economic cooperative, in which each member family owns a plot of land, primarily intended for agricultural purposes. Today, moshav residents include people who are not members of the cooperative. There are two types of moshav – the collective smallholder's settlementd the workers cooperative settlement; most moshavim are of the latter type. The first moshav, Nahalal, was established in northern Yizre'el Valley in 1921. The second moshav, Kfar Yecheszkel, was also established in the Yizre'el Valley.

At the close of 2008, there were 440 moshavim of both kinds in Israel, which were home to 258.1 thousand people – approximately 4% of Israel’s population. The population of moshavim in Israel has increased over the past decades from 130.0 thousand people in 1972 to 168.5 thousand in 1991 to 258.1 thousand in 2008. Over the past twenty years, moshavim have undergone extensive demographic and other changes that were largely instigated by an overhaul in government policy that allowed formerly agricultural lands to be used for other residential, commercial and industrial uses.

The data for 2008 shows that 33% of moshavim were located in central Israel, 27% in northern Israel, 25% in southern Israel and 9% in the District of Jerusalem. While the geographic spread of moshavim throughout the country is impressive, it is nevertheless true that the average number of residents in moshavim in central Israel is approximately 800 compared with 500 in the South and the North, and 300 in Judea and Samaria. Three moshavim, Orah, Aminadav and Beit Zayit, border the municipal borders of Jerusalem. The Matte Yehuda Regional Council, located to the west of the capital, is home to 41 moshavim (including the three aforementioned), which had 22.8 thousand residents in 2008.