Monday, November 11, 2013

“Mixed Cities” in Israel

Dr. Maya Choshen

This time we aim to present a quantitative picture of the Jewish and Arab populations of Jerusalem and other cities in Israel where Jewish and Arab communities reside alongside one another. 

At the end of 2011, Jerusalem had a total population of 804,400, which included 511,400 Jewish residents and 293,000 Arab residents. The Arab population comprised a Muslim majority (96%) and Christian minority. During this year the population of Jerusalem constituted approximately10% of the total population of Israel; the city’s Jewish population constituted about 8% of the total Jewish population of Israel, and its Arab population constituted about 18% of the total Arab population of Israel. 

At the end of 2011, the proportion of the Arab population within the total population of Jerusalem (36%) was higher than its proportion within Israel (21%). We customarily speak of our mixed cities and tend to include Jerusalem in one breath with Haifa and Tel Aviv-Jaffa. Before reading further, think about the number of Jews and the number of Arabs in Haifa and Tel Aviv-Jaffa: What are these numbers, and what is the proportion of Jewish residents and Arab residents within the total population of each city, respectively?

In fact, among the three major cities, Jerusalem had the largest Jewish population, numbering 511,400, compared with 388,100 in Tel Aviv-Jaffa and 242,500 in Haifa. The Arab population of Jerusalem is also the largest: 293,000, compared with 27,800 in Haifa and 16,700 in Tel Aviv-Jaffa.

And what is the relative proportion of each population group? The proportion of the Arab population within the total population of Jerusalem (36%) is greater than its proportion within the total population of Israel (21%), Haifa (10%), and Tel Aviv-Jaffa (4%).

And what about the other mixed urban local authorities?

At the end of 2011, a total of 399,200 Arabs resided in eight cities in Israel that had an Arab population of 4% or higher. The Arab population of these cities, termed “mixed cities” for our purposes, constituted 25% of the total Arab population of Israel. As noted, 293,000 of them resided in Jerusalem, constituting 74% of the total number of Arabs residing within the mixed cities of Israel.

At the end of 2011, Lod had a total population of 70,300, which included 19,800 Arab residents (28%). Ramla had a total population of 67,000, with 15,100 Arab residents (22%). Eilat had a total population of 46,700, with 1,900 Arab residents (4%). Acco (Acre) had a total population of 46,500, with 14,000 Arab residents (30%). Nazareth Illit (Upper Nazareth) had a total population of 40,600, with 7,200 Arabs (18%). Ma’alot-Tarshiha had a total population of 21,000, with 4,100 Arab residents (20%).

The above statistics, which are presented in descending order of total population size within mixed cities, indicate that the local authority with the highest percentage of Arab residents is Jerusalem, with 36%, followed by Acco with 30%, then in descending order, Lod with 28% Arab residents, Ramla with 22%, Ma’a lot-Tarshiha with 20%, Nazareth Illit with 18%, Haifa with 10%, and Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Eilat with 4% each. 

Over the years the proportion of the Jewish population within Jerusalem has shown a decline, while simultaneously the proportion of the Arab population has increased. The percentage of Jewish residents in the city decreased from 74% in 1967 to 72% in 1980, to 68% in 2000, and to 64% in 2011. Simultaneously the Arab population increased from 26% in 1967 to 28% in 1980, to 32% in 2000, and to 36% in 2011.