Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Municipal Tax and Municipal Profit in the City Center

Dafna Shemer

The 2014 Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem includes data regarding arnona (municipal taxes) in Jerusalem, providing an opportunity to examine which parts of the city generate the bulk of income for the municipality from non-residential arnona. In 2011, residential and non-residential arnona constituted 81% of all independent income for the Municipality of Jerusalem, and 57% of its entire income. Non-residential arnona constitutes nearly half of all municipal income from arnona.

The data reveal that over a tenth of municipal income from non-residential arnona derives from non-residential properties in the city center. About 20% of municipal income from arnona comes from the main centers of business (the Old City, the city center in general, and Romema), and a similar percentage comes from Jerusalem’s trade, business, and industrial areas (Talpiot, Giv’at Sha’ul, and Har Hotzvim).

The “profitability” of an area in terms of the non-residential arnona it generates may be assessed by looking at the municipal income derived from this area in relation to the area’s built-up territory. The attached map demonstrates how non-residential arnona fees are distributed across the built-up territory of every sub-quarter of Jerusalem. It is important to note that arnona for offices, services, and trade is higher than arnona for residential purposes. For example, in what is defined as Area A, the arnona rate for a residential apartment up to 120 square meters is NIS 86 per square meter, whereas the rate for a space up to 150 square meters that is used for trade purposes is NIS 327 per square meter. 

An analysis of arnona fees in relation to the built-up territory of neighborhoods reveals that (non-residential) tax payments per dunam (about one-quarter of an acre) in the city center is about NIS 137,000 per dunam per year. For the sake of comparison, non-residential arnona in the city center is 1.7 times greater than that of the Old City’s Christian Quarter (about NIS 80,000 per dunam per year), and 3 times greater than that of the Talpiot industrial zone (about NIS 47,000 per dunam). The attached map indicates the relative distribution of space designated for non-residential purposes, including the trade, services, and industry concentrated in the city center, in contrast to Jerusalem’s peripheral neighborhoods, which have few territories that generate municipal income from non-residential purposes. Exceptions in this context are the Talpiot industrial zone, the area in which the Malha Mall is situated, the Technological Garden, and the area of Ein Kerem, which includes Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem. 

An examination of data from previous years indicates that the status of the city center has remained relatively stable, as reflected in the 7% decline in the amount of non-residential arnona income over the past 30 years, despite changing geographic patterns of consumption such as the opening of the Malha Mall in the early 1990s and despite the security situation, which has had a great impact on the city center.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem – Galleries for Contemporary Art

Ruth Abraham

Every two years the Pilat Center for Culture Research and Information publishes data about activities, funding, and numbers of visits to the museums and galleries supported by the Ministry of Culture. In 2010 the Ministry supported 41 art galleries throughout the country. About one-third of these are located in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. In Tel Aviv 8 galleries receive support (20%), compared to 6 (15%) galleries in Jerusalem. 

The Pilat data reveal that as of 2010 Tel Aviv had the larger number of galleries receiving support (8 as compared to 6) and more visitors (about 115,000 as compared to 100,000). Yet Jerusalem had more space devoted to exhibits (960 square meters as compared to 866 square meters) and a larger number of exhibitions (69 as compared to 65), as well as higher quality exhibitions and a more developed perspective on art (rating 3.6 as compared to 3.1 out of 4) – based on the innovation of the exhibit and the curatorial perceptions as determined by the Committee on Quality within the Department of Plastic Arts in the Ministry of Culture. The most significant difference is in the number of events that took place in the various galleries, which stems from increased activity in the printmaking sector in the context of the Jerusalem Print Workshop (187 events).

While a large number of museums receive support from the Ministry of Culture, there are also many private galleries that constitute an inseparable part of the world of contemporary art in Israel. These galleries form a variegated infrastructure for cultural activity in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Most of these galleries are situated in Tel Aviv.

On the occasion of Tel Aviv’s Year of Art (2012) the “Global City” initiative of the Tel Aviv Municipality compiled a list of 110 exhibition spaces in the city. To date, no such list has been produced in Jerusalem. In order to form a clear picture of the number of galleries engaged in contemporary art in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, one may examine exhibition season openings during 2013 in both cities. The Jerusalem event “Manofim” (“Cranes” – in the sense of construction) was spread out over 22 contemporary art galleries, a majority of the city’s galleries that focus on this type of art. The event “Ohavim Omanut” (“Love Art”), which took place simultaneously in Tel Aviv, had 38 participating galleries. Thirty other galleries, including some of the city’s main galleries, opted to boycott the event in the context of their struggle for the reduction of municipal taxes on galleries.

Although government investments in galleries in Tel Aviv and in Jerusalem appear to be comparable, Tel Aviv actually has a broader and more varied infrastructure for exhibitions and discourse in the area of contemporary art. This infrastructure is distributed across a space created by independent galleries, most of which are supported by external investors, art collectors, and creative art groups. The number of galleries and exhibition spaces in Jerusalem – where nine art schools of various types exist, more than in any other Israeli city – constitute about only one-fifth of the number of galleries in Tel Aviv.

Source: 2010 Annual Report on Museum Activities, Pilat Center for Culture Research and Information

Monday, July 7, 2014

High School Matriculation: The Key Is to Understand the Whole

Yoad Shahar 

Each year the Ministry of Education publishes statistics about the rates of eligibility, by locale, for high school matriculation certificates among 12th grade students. According to this data the rate of eligibility in Jerusalem declined from 51% in 2007-2008 to 46% in 2009-2010 to 43% in 2011-2012. Yet some observers claim that these figures do not accurately represent current trends, which are influenced by policies regarding matriculation.

The Municipality of Jerusalem publishes annual statistics based on those of the Ministry of Education, after arranging them by population sectors. These data reveal that the percentage of students eligible for matriculation certificates from among 12th grade high school students enrolled in the state and state-religious education systems has in fact been rising in recent years: from 63% in 2009-2010 to 68% in 2010-2011 to 72% in 2011-2012.

Simultaneously there is a trend underway in which schools are transitioning from the independent (ultra-orthodox) and Arab education systems to the educational curriculum that prepares students for the Israeli matriculation certificate. In other words, more students are taking the matriculation exams within these sectors, and therefore presumably more students are eligible for the certificate. Here lies the key to understanding the gap between the data published by the Ministry of Education and the data published by the Municipality of Jerusalem.

As noted, eligibility for the matriculation certificate is calculated on the basis of the total number of students enrolled in 12th grade. However, the 12th graders who are counted are only those enrolled in schools that offer students the option of taking the matriculation exams. Thus two different problems arise regarding calculation of the whole. First, if we were to calculate the number of students eligible for a matriculation certificate in 2011-2012 out of the total number of 12th grade students (including those enrolled in schools whose students do not have the option of taking matriculation exams), the whole figure out of which the proportion of eligible students is calculated would be greater, and therefore the eligibility rate would be less than 43%. Second, under the current system of calculating the whole, as more ultra-orthodox and Arab schools transition to the Israeli matriculation curriculum, all of their students are counted in the calculation of the total number of students – the whole – even though during the early years only a few of their students actually take the matriculation exams. In other words, as more schools transition to the matriculation curriculum, they bring down the overall eligibility rate within the city. 

So what is the correct way to calculate eligibility for a matriculation certificate? The question depends on the objective of the calculation. One objective could be the assessment of eligibility as an indicator of students’ future earning power. Towards this objective it would be appropriate to include all the city’s 12th grade students in calculating the whole, and consequently the eligibility percentage for 2011-2012 is less than 43%.

Another objective could be to develop an indicator of the quality of the city’s educational institutions. A high eligibility rate indicates a successful educational system, which often serves as a criterion for parents who are considering moving to the city. Towards this objective it is appropriate to calculate the eligibility percentage on the basis of the number of students enrolled in schools that have adopted the matriculation certificate as a measure of the quality of their education. However, this approach does not address the catch created by the transition of ultra-orthodox and Arab schools to the matriculation curriculum: at least in the short term, these schools bring down the city’s eligibility rates. Accordingly, the Municipality of Jerusalem is right to calculate the matriculation certificate eligibility rates by education sectors, thus producing a more complex representation of existing trends in the city with regard to this issue.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Depression

Yael Israeli

Depression is the most prevalent mental illness in the Western world. It is estimated that approximately 17% of the population in Western countries suffers from depression. Many of us find ourselves in a depressed mood from time to time because of various events such as the breakup of a relationship, being fired from work, the death of a close acquaintance, and so on, but these are temporary moods and their context is clear – in contrast to clinical depression, which usually has inherent, possibly unknown, causes.
The 2013 Social Survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics explored the mental and emotional state of respondents and the extent of support they feel they receive from their community.

The survey asked respondents whether they have felt depressed in the past year. In Jerusalem, 12% of those surveyed said they always or often feel depressed, and 33% said they sometimes feel depressed. These percentages are significantly higher than the figures for Tel Aviv and Israel: in Tel Aviv 7% of respondents said they often feel depressed, and an additional 27% said they sometimes feel depressed; in Israel as a whole these figures are 9% and 25% respectively. In Jerusalem 55% of respondents said that they rarely or never feel depressed, compared to 65% in Tel Aviv and Israel as a whole. However, when asked whether they felt they needed psychological counseling during the past year, only 7% responded in the affirmative, compared to 12% in Tel Aviv and Haifa.

The prevalence of depression varies significantly between men and women. Studies reveal that depression is twice as prevalent among women as opposed to men, but it is unclear what causes this disparity and whether it results from problems in diagnosis. Apparently the disparities between men and women in Jerusalem are not so great: the figure was comparable for women and men in Jerusalem (11%-12%) who reported feeling depressed always or often. A slightly higher proportion of women reported feeling depressed sometimes (36% versus 30%), and a higher proportion of Jerusalem men reported that they are never depressed (36% versus 29%). Among the three major cities, Haifa has the largest disparities between men and women: 8% of Haifa men reported feeling depressed always or often, compared to almost twice the figure for women (15%). A total of 13% of Haifa men reported that they sometimes feel depressed, compared to 32% of women.

Support and assistance from the community can significantly help a depressed person cope with feelings of depression, and can also help someone who is likely to become depressed. A distinct majority of people turn to their partner for emotional support, but some also turn to parents and friends. In Jerusalem nearly half of those surveyed said that they would turn to their partner for support, 16% said they would turn to their parents, and 15% would turn to a friend. The rest said they would turn to their children or to another family member or professional. Here, too, there are differences between men and women: Jerusalem women tend to turn to their children more often when seeking emotional support, whereas Jerusalem men actually tend to turn to their parents.

In Tel Aviv as well, about half of those surveyed responded that they would turn to their partner for emotional support, while only 7% reported that they would turn to their parents (less than half the figure for Jerusalem), and 20% said they would turn to a friend. Tel Aviv women tend to turn to their children or another family member for support, whereas the men tend to turn to their partner.
For all those who are depressed, despondent, grieving, or forsaken, we hope that, in the words of poet Lea Goldberg, “the pathways of sorrow will come to an end.”