Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Silver Screen

Omer Yaniv

In 2008, The Jerusalem Film & Television Fund set up operations in the city, tasked with promoting the production of audio-visual works with Jerusalem as their focus, and also expanding employment possibilities for Jerusalemites in the film industry.

The Fund's staff assists local and international filmmakers to produce works for film and television in the city, in the same way that funding bodies and film foundations do in other cities and countries around the world, where they have learned that the production of films and TV series, with their support, contributes to the image of a place, augments the development of a creative society, and positions the locale as a tourist destination. Furthermore, the production of films and TV series in Jerusalem also provides employment for a second circle, comprised of drivers, catering services, hotels, and more.

Between the years 2010 and 2016 the Fund supported the production of eight television series and 48 films, among them international productions (such as A Tale of Love and Darkness, directed by Natalie Portman, and Norman, starring Richard Gere) and animated films, produced at an animation studio that was opened in the city several years ago.

The Fund assists filmmakers by covering some of the production costs, providing guidance and assistance in dealing with bureaucracy, identifying possible locations for filming, and providing connections to industry people who work in the city.

According to statistics based on Israeli filmgoers, the following are among the most successful films from those produced with the support of the Jerusalem Film & Television Fund during the years 2010 to 2016: Footnote, directed by Joseph Cedar, in 2011, viewed by approximately 290,000 people in Israel, with an income of 10.3 million shekels from screenings at cinemas (Footnote was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film); Bethlehem, directed by Yuval Adler in 2013, viewed by 165,000 people in Israel, with an income of 6.3 million shekels; Hunting Elephants, directed by Reshef Levy in 2013, viewed by 164,000 people in Israel, with an income of 4.9 million shekels; and The Kind Words, directed by Shemi Zarhin in 2015, viewed by 150,000 people in Israel, with an income of 4.4 million shekels.

Translation: Gilah Kahn

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Housing Projects – Israeli Style

Dafna Shemer

One of the repercussions of the 2011 housing protests was that recent Israeli governments, and the current minister of finance in particular, have taken measures to lower the housing costs. For now it seems we’re still in trouble, though, given that the total number of monthly salary installments required to purchase an apartment in Israel (according to Ministry of Construction and Housing data for the first half of 2015) amounts to 146, whereas in 2009 the total was 116.

The project Mechir Lamishtaken (“Buyer’s Price”) was launched in an effort to address the growing housing crisis in Israel. Through this project developers compete for discounted land to construct affordable housing for first-time homebuyers who meet certain qualifications, and the apartments are then offered for sale by lottery. As of 2016, a total of 7,600 apartments were offered in tenders. In Jerusalem the total was 501, and tenders will soon be announced for 407 apartments. The (501) apartments offered so far amount to 18% of the annual average for construction starts in Jerusalem over the past five years. The apartments offered so far in the context of Mechir Lamishtaken were mainly in the neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo (86%), and the remainder in Pisgat Ze’ev. The average apartment size is 116 square meters (Sq m.), which exceeds the 2016 average for Jerusalem, at 81 Sq m.

The media has pointed out that apartments in the Mechir Lamishtaken program are generally larger than typical, and so too in Jerusalem: 40% of the apartments offered through the program have 5 rooms, and 35% have 4-4.5 rooms. According to data on construction starts in Jerusalem published by the Central Bureau of Statistics, only 20% of apartments under construction in Jerusalem in 2016 had 5 rooms.

The prices of apartments that have been won by lottery are published on the website of the Ministry of Housing and Construction, and as promised, their prices are lower than average for the relevant neighborhoods. An apartment in this project in Ramat Shlomo costs NIS 12,900 per Sq m. whereas the typical cost, according to the Madlan website, is NIS 19,700 per Sq m. – a difference of 54% per square meter.

In Pisgat Ze’ev the cost for apartments in this project is NIS 9,500 per Sq m., compared with the average cost of NIS 16,200 per Sq m. – a difference of 69% per square meter.

Mechir Lamishtaken reserves a number of places for “locals”: 38% of the lottery winners in Jerusalem are Jerusalem residents, 22% are from the Tel Aviv District, and another 20% are from the Central District. A relatively small proportion of winners are from the environs of Jerusalem: 4% from the Jerusalem District (excluding the city) and 8% from the Judea and Samaria District.

The next tenders are expected to be announced in Gilo and Malha, thus maintaining the trend of using available peripheral lands in implementation of the project. The attractive price and “brand newness” of the apartments are plusses, but the locations are less attractive in terms of public transportation and, as a result, access to places of employment.

Translation: Merav Datan

Monday, July 10, 2017

Who I talk about when I talk about running

Yair Assaf-Shapira

On Friday, March 17, I awoke to a cool, quiet morning that felt like a holiday. There was almost no sound of cars, because many roads were closed for the Jerusalem Marathon. It’s a complicated morning for shopping and errands and a hassle for many of the city’s residents, but for my family it was a happy occasion to set out to the starting line.
According to a Municipality statement, more than 30,000 men, women, boys, and girls participated. The Marathon website recorded about 17,000 runners in the competitive 5, 10, 21, and 42 kilometer races. The overall age range was vast, with about 140 runners aged 70 and above, most of whom registered for the 10K race, and nearly 1,000 runners below age 15, of whom about 900 registered for the 5K race. The runners included children, elderly, and every age in between, but the largest age group – numbering 3,500 – was 15-19 years. These were easily identifiable among the runners: high school students, soldiers, and many young Jewish visitors from abroad. Each of the other age groups had fewer than 2,000 runners.

Men accounted for 63% of all runners in all the races. The highest participation rates for women were in the 5K (where they accounted for 49% of the runners) and 10K (42%) races.

The most popular of the races was the 10K, in which 8,000 men and women participated. This distance was especially popular among the 15-19 year olds, who totaled 2,200. Apparently the 10K is characteristically a young people’s race. So how about the longer races?

It turns out that the longer distances, which require a great deal of mental stamina, actually attract older runners. The largest age groups for both the 21K and full marathon were the 40-44 and 45-49 year olds. In each of these age groups, 800 runners participated in the 21K and 270 ran all 42 kilometers.

This year too, it was a wonderful experience to run with my family (4 people in 4 different age groups) and thousands of other runners throughout the streets of Jerusalem.

Translation: Merav Datan

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The apartment is always bigger on the other side

Lior Regev
Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research

A few months ago the 2017 Arnona (municipal tax) invoice landed in our mailboxes. Next to the total payment due, the invoice notes the size of our apartment, at least as it appears on the municipal registry.

Arnona taxes are one of the main revenue sources for local authorities in Israel, enabling a range of services for residents. Besides size of property, what determines Arnona rates is the property’s use, namely, residential, commercial, services, and the like. Jerusalem has four Arnona districts, each with a different rate per square meter.

As a general trend, apartment sizes in Israel have been steadily increasing over the years. Crumbling public housing, where three children shared a bedroom, might have sufficed in the past, but today every toddler demands a private room. Moreover, living rooms have become a permanent and ever-expanding fixture. And why make do with one bathroom, when we can have two? It is interesting to look at the repercussions of this trend for planning in Jerusalem.

Residential buildings constructed in the 1950s and 1960s offered relatively small apartments. The times demanded housing for hundreds of thousands of new immigrants, and the budget was scant. As of 2015, 56% of the apartments in Kiryat Yovel, 34% in Kiryat Menachem and Ir Ganim, and 43% in the Gonen (Katamon) neighborhoods (A-I) were smaller than 60 square meters (m2).

A decade later, in the 1970s and 1980s, there began to be constructed the large satellite neighborhoods, designed in advance with larger apartments. In 2015, 54% of apartments in the French Hill, 55% in Gilo, and 57% in Neve Yaakov were 61-100 m2 in size. In Ramat Eshkol, another neighborhood constructed during this period, about 60% of the apartments were in this size range. Interestingly, apartment sizes vary among the neighborhoods built during those years because the planners wanted to attract diverse groups. Apartments in the range of 61-80 m2 account for 41% in Neve Yaakov, 40% in Ramat Eshkol, and only 20% in the French Hill.

Jumping forward to the 1990s and 2000s, the trend towards larger apartments continues unimpeded. In two neighborhoods built during those years, Ramat Shlomo and Har Homa, most apartments exceed 80 m2 (82% and 74%, respectively). For the sake of comparison, only 3% of apartments in Ramat Shlomo and 2% in Har Homa are smaller than 60 m2.

So how big will apartments be in years to come?

Translation: Merav Datan

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Under Construction

Yair Assaf-Shapira
Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research

During 2015-2016 (January 2015 through June 2016, a total of 18 months) construction was started on 70,600 housing units in Israel (provisional data, new buildings only).

The scope of construction in a particular region or locality reflects a number of factors: policy considerations, such as an interest in directing home-buyers or renters to a certain area; means of development, such as approved building plans; and a demand for housing in that region or locality. It is difficult to separate these factors, but the bottom line is that extensive residential construction will likely contribute to demographic change: more residents will be able to remain in or move to the locality.

The cities that saw the most construction were Jerusalem (3,700 construction starts), Tel Aviv (3,300), Netanya (2,300), and Petah Tikva (2,200). These four cities, however, have large populations, and it is not certain that the additional construction will have a strong impact on the population size. So where is construction likely to have a significant impact in relation to population size?

During 2015 (January 2015 through June 2016), for every 1,000 residents of Israel, construction was started on 8.4 housing units. The major cities, which need large numbers of housing units in order to accommodate population growth, were unable to reach this figure. In Jerusalem 4.3 units were started for every 1,000 residents, and in cities with a population between 200,000 and 500,000 (Tel Aviv-Yafo, Haifa, Rishon LeZion, and Petah Tikva) 6.6 units were started. The figures were higher for cities with a population between 100,000 and 200,000 (such as Netanya, Be’er Sheva, and Holon), at 9.2, and for cities with a population between 50,000 and 100,000 (such as Kfar Saba, Herzliya, Hadera, and Modi’in), where construction was started on 8.7 units for every 1,000 residents.

Smaller localities saw even more new construction of housing units in relation to their population size. For example, in localities with a population between 10,000 and 20,000 (such as Tirat Karmel, Ariel, Hura, Tel Sheva, and Kafar Manda), 12.1 units were started, and in rural localities (moshavim, kibbutzim, and the like), 11.4 units were started for every 1,000 persons.

The population growth correlated with construction trends: in cities with a population above 200,000 it was below average, and in the smaller localities it was higher. The sharpest increase in population during 2015 was recorded in rural localities, at 2.9%. Jerusalem, by comparison, had a population growth of 1.9%. It should be noted that population growth depends on a number of factors, not only on construction.

Translation: Merav Datan

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Employment-Population Ratios

Yair Assaf-Shapira
Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research,

In 2015 (the last year for which data are available), a total of 321,000 men and women were employed in Jerusalem. Although Jerusalem is Israel’s most populous city, the number of people employed in the city is smaller than the figure for Tel Aviv – Yafo, which has a total of 406,700 employed persons. Haifa has a total of 176,600, and for Israel as a whole the total is 3,653,800.
A city’s workforce is a source of economic power: workplaces pay relatively high municipal taxes, and persons employed in the city spend money and consume services such as culture, commerce, or even parking, thus in effect creating more employment opportunities. Construction of office buildings and other workplaces also generate revenues for the city through levies and fees. 
Might we conclude, therefore, that the economic power provided by persons employed in Jerusalem is less than that provided by those employed in Tel Aviv – Yafo and greater than in Haifa? Not necessarily, because the population of Jerusalem is twice that of Tel Aviv and three times that of Haifa. In other words, the economic power generated by workplaces in Jerusalem serves a much larger number of residents. To assess the economic power derived from places of employment in relation to population, we calculated the ratios between a city’s employed persons (who are not necessarily all residents) and the city’s population. 
The employment-population ratio in Jerusalem stood at 374 employed persons for every 1,000 residents of the city. This is significantly lower than the figures for Tel Aviv (947) and Haifa (635), which serve as centers of employment for large, densely populated metropolitan areas. A comparison with other major cities reveals that Jerusalem’s ratio is higher than that of Rishon LeZion (362) and Ashdod (333), but lower than that of Petah Tikva (522), Be’er Sheva (445), and Netanya (405).
Jerusalem’s low ratio results from relatively low rates of participation in the workforce among certain population groups, a relatively small number of workplaces in the city, and the difficulty of attracting people to work in the city. At the same time, it appears that since 2010 Jerusalem’s employment-population ratio has increased. In 1995, 2000, and 2005 it stood at 332, 329, and 331, respectively, then rose to 343 in 2010 and, as noted, to 374 in 2015. As we know, Jerusalem’s population is not declining in size, and the ratio is increasing because new workplaces are opening at a faster rate than the population is increasing. 

Translation: Merav Datan

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It Belongs in a Museum!

Omer Yaniv
Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research

Jerusalem is a city of museums. In the past, archaeological findings discovered in Jerusalem would be displayed in small exhibit halls primarily in the Old City’s churches and monasteries. This practice changed in 1938, when the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum was built outside of the Old City walls. Later, after the State of Israel was founded, cultural institutions opened throughout the city, including the Israel Museum in 1965, the Museum for Islamic Art in 1974, and the Bible Lands Museum as well as the Science Museum in 1992. Throughout these years museums were also opened in existing buildings, including the Tower of David Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Old Yishuv Court Museum. In the near future Jerusalem is expected to see additional museum openings in the new “Museum Complex” surrounding the Israel Museum, where the National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel and the National Library are slated to open in the coming years.
The Israel Museum, which is Israel’s national museum, is the most popular of Jerusalem’s museums, and for good reason. In 2015 it displayed more than 290,000 collection items in 34 different exhibits, and had some 730,000 visitors. Other Jerusalem museums that drew large crowds in 2015 were the Bloomfield Science Museum with 291,000 visitors, the Tower of David Museum with 266,000 visitors, and the Bible Lands Museum with 228,000 visitors. In 2013, about 37% of all visitors to Israel’s recognized museums had visited a museum in Jerusalem. In other words, Jerusalem’s museums had more than 1,630,000 visitors, compared with 1,070,000 visitors to museums in Tel Aviv and the surrounding area (24% of all visitors to museums in Israel) and 530,000 visitors to museums in Haifa and its surroundings (12% of all visitors).

Sources: PILAT and Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research
Translated by Merav Datan

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Rain that Pays for Itself

Mimi Kaplan
Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research – Milken innovation center

Atop a 1,000 square meter roof of a school building, rainwater falls and runs down into gutters at the perimeter. Through the gutters, the rainwater flows into a large reservoir either by the force of gravity, or with the help of sub-pumps. The reservoir is connected to the school’s toilets by a separate line in order to avoid cross connections with city water.  A pressure switch activates only upon a toilet flush in the school bathroom, causing the rainwater to flow once again and refill the toilet. Through these pipes, reservoirs and pumps, this system captures the valuable natural resource of rainwater and puts it to use. 
This is the model of rainwater catchment system that Amir Yechieli's company, Yevul Mayim, has installed at 150 schools in Israel so far. Once built, the systems are used as educational tools by the schools, to teach students concepts of conservation and research methods like data collection and arithmetic. Though there have been many national and international sponsors of the systems like the Jewish National Fund, Rotary International and the Jerusalem Foundation, the systems are viable as a financially and environmentally sustainable investment in their own right. 
The system described above has the collection potential of approximately 429 cubic meters annually, or 2,681 bathtubs full of water, given Jerusalem's average amount of rainfall. The actual volume of rainwater moving from roof to toilet depends on the total amount of rainfall , its distribution, the storage capacity, and number of toilets hooked up to the system. This is 429 cubic meters of rainwater that would not incur the energy costs of treatment and pumping, or the direct financial cost of NIS 9.95 (including value added tax) per cubic meter, which comes out to NIS 4,269 annually at the water rate for public buildings. 
The average cost of a modest rainwater catchment system for a school rooftop in Jerusalem is NIS 30,000 with negligible operating and maintenance costs. This capital cost could be paid for in a number of ways, all of which assume use of all of the 429 cubic meters, and that money would be set aside for repairs. First, as mentioned above, a philanthropic organization could pay the full capital cost. Second, a public-private partnership between the school, the municipality and a private installation company could be created to finance and build the project. The initial capital cost could be split between the three partners, and the school could pay the other two back over time through a negotiated percent of the avoided cost. Third, a third of the capital cost could be raised by the school's local community, and two thirds paid for by a 5-year loan that the school takes from a commercial bank (at market borrowing terms). And fourth, the municipality could take a 5-year loan (at market borrowing terms) from the national government to pay for the creation of rainwater catchment systems. The number of years it takes for the money saved by installing a 1,000 square meter rainwater catchment system to equal the NIS 30,000 capital cost is depicted in the graph. Jerusalem has approximately 896,112 square meters of roof space on public buildings, which yields a potential water saving of 384,253 cubic meters annually. Expanding the number of rainwater catchment systems on Jerusalem's roofs through any of these four financial mechanisms would lead the city to continuously save more water, energy, and money.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Fight for Your Right (To Pay Tax)

Dafna Shemer
Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research

Jerusalem’s Arnona (municipal tax) is particularly high, the highest in Israel. In 2014 Jerusalem’s total due Arnona was 1,173,000,00 NIS (New Israeli Shekels) for 212,000 housing units. Arnona discounts amounted to 26% of the total, with 40% of the discounts going to residents from Jerusalem neighborhoods of low socio-economic status (a socio-economic status of 2-5, with 20 being the highest status, according to the 2008 census).
An examination of Jerusalem’s lower socio-economic neighborhoods reveals an interesting picture regarding the exercise of rights on the part of East Jerusalem versus West Jerusalem residents. These neighborhoods are geographically and socially distinguishable as areas populated by the ultra-orthodox (haredi) in West Jerusalem and by Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
Most (72%) of the properties in West Jerusalem that belong to residents of lower socio-economic standing have a ranking of 4 or 5, whereas in East Jerusalem only 49% of the properties belong to residents with a ranking of 4 or 5.
Building on the assumption that people with the same socio-economic status would receive the same discount in Arnona, given their income, we examined lower socio-economic neighborhoods in West Jerusalem and in East Jerusalem. We examined how many discounts were granted on the basis of income, as a proportion of the total number of apartments in the neighborhood. Evidently, the percentage of Arnona discounts based on income, as a proportion of the total number of apartments, is higher in West Jerusalem (39%) than in East Jerusalem (26%). For the sake of comparison, we note that in neighborhoods of higher socio-economic standing (15-19), 6% of the apartments receive a discount on the basis of income.
Both East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem neighborhoods show a decrease in the percentage of discounts granted on the basis of income as the socio-economic ranking of the neighborhood rises. East Jerusalem neighborhoods with a socio-economic status of 2 received discounts for 27% of the apartments therein, whereas West Jerusalem neighborhoods with a ranking of 2 received discounts for 42% of the apartments therein. East Jerusalem neighborhoods with a socio-economic status of 5 received discounts for 15% of the apartments therein, while for West Jerusalem this figure was 35%.
When we examine the total Arnona collected, in relation to the total due without discount, amidst residents of lower socio-economic standing, we find that collection rates in East Jerusalem (72%) are lower than in West Jerusalem (85%). Here too, as the socio-economic status increases from 2 to 5, Arnona collection rates increase. For higher socio-economic rankings (15-19), collection rates are higher too – at 96%.
In sum, one might conclude that residents of West Jerusalem are more effectively exercising their rights vis-à-vis Arnona than East Jerusalem residents. And perhaps as a consequence, Arnona collection in West Jerusalem is more effective and efficient than it is in East Jerusalem.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Employment Integration and the Jerusalem Intifada

Marik Shtern
Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research

Since the end of the second intifada and construction of the separation fence, the economic and employment integration of Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents within West Jerusalem has been on the increase. The demographic growth of the city’s Palestinian population, on the one hand, and the economic crisis in East Jerusalem caused by the separation fence and consequent disconnection from the Palestinian economy, on the other, resulted in the integration of this population group into the Israeli labor market on a scale and scope unprecedented since 1967. Newly available data of the National Insurance Institute (social security), as processed by the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research in relation to the composition and characteristics of persons employed in Jerusalem during 2006-2015, reveal that in 2015 the increase in number of Arab workers was halted, for the first time ever, and even reversed slightly.
As of 2015 employed residents of Jerusalem numbered 278,403. The relative proportion of employed Arabs within the city’s labor force grew steadily between 2006 and 2015, from 22% in 2006 to 28% in 2015. During this period the number of employed Arabs registered with the East Jerusalem branch of the National Insurance Institute rose from 45,730 to 74,204 – an increase of 62%. In 2015 this increase was halted and the total even declined by 110 employees.
Current data on recipients of unemployment benefits and income support can, to a certain extent, help explain why the city’s Arab labor force stopped increasing. According to National Insurance Institute data, the number of recipients of unemployment benefits among East Jerusalem Arabs rose steadily from 352 in 2008 to 1,501 in 2015 – an increase of 426% in seven years. The main increase took place during 2013-2015. In addition, the number of income support recipients from East Jerusalem also jumped, nearly doubling between 2011 and 2015, from 3,853 to 5,793 – about 700 more than the number of Jewish income support recipients in the city for the same year. These figures presumably reflect the large number of Arab workers who were excluded from the employment cycle in recent years. Their exclusion can probably be explained in terms of the economic crisis that befell Jerusalem’s private employment sector following the events of the Jerusalem intifada, as well as instances of dismissal or refusal to employ Arab workers in West Jerusalem during this period. At the same time, the increase in recipients of unemployment benefits and income support could also indicate an increase in awareness and capability within this population group when it comes to implementing their social rights. In other words, their economic integration and what has recently been termed their “Israelization” actually enable Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem to claim their social rights under conditions of economic crisis or dismissal from work, which in turn result from an intensification of the national conflict in the city.

Translation: Merav Datan

Monday, February 20, 2017

The True Stats of Doing Business

Alon Kupererd
Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research,

If one examines the available data on openings and closings of businesses, while ignoring the net change in the number of businesses, one might conclude that the business sector is constantly in flux – given the large numbers of openings and closings.

Indeed, the data on business registrations, as provided by the Central Bureau of Statistics and presented in the 2017 Statistical Yearbook on Jerusalem (forthcoming), indicate that in all economic sectors, with the sole exception of the manufacturing, mining, and quarrying sector, there has been a gradual increase in the number of active businesses during 2015. For example, during this year Jerusalem saw the opening of 242 new businesses in the real estate sector while 137 were shut down, indicating a positive net change of 105 businesses for this sector. This is smaller than the figure for Tel Aviv-Yafo, which saw an increase of 212 businesses in the real estate sector during the same year. In Haifa there were 146 business openings and 88 closings, yielding a net change of 58 new businesses – well below the figures for Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.

The important question, however, is whether this net change is a true reflection of activity trends in the business sector. Not necessarily, as it turns out, given that the absolute numbers do not accurately represent the proportionate change in the number of businesses in a city, and given that the economy of a city varies with the size of the city. As such, any comparison across cities requires an index of measurement that neutralizes variance in the number of active businesses per city. So let us compare business activity across cities using ratios per 1,000 businesses.

When we examine the above data using this method, we find that Jerusalem saw an increase of 44 businesses for every 1,000 active businesses, while Tel Aviv had an increase of 33 businesses per 1,000. In Haifa the proportion was 40 businesses per 1,000. Thus we see that even though Tel Aviv saw the greatest increase in this sector in absolute numbers, its rate of growth was the lowest among the three major cities, including Haifa, which had the lowest figure in absolute numbers.

In addition to the rate of growth, we can also examine stability. To see which sectors maintained relative stability and which underwent high turnover, let us calculate the rate of change among businesses (sum of business openings and closings) per 1,000 active businesses.

When we compare across sectors, we find that among the three major cities and Israel as a whole, the sector with the highest rate of business openings and closings was that of accommodation services and restaurants (287 openings and closings per 1,000 active businesses in Jerusalem, 260 in Tel Aviv, and 315 in Haifa).

The sectors with the next highest rates of openings and closings were the hi-tech industry (257 in Tel Aviv, 229 in Israel, 220 in Jerusalem, and 212 in Haifa) and information and communications (232 in Tel Aviv, 228 in Israel, 226 in Jerusalem, and 225 in Haifa).

It should be noted that those sectors that showed high rates of business openings and closings also had relatively high rates of growth in terms of the number of businesses per 1,000 active businesses: in Jerusalem the hi-tech industry ranked second and the information and communications sector ranked fourth; in Tel Aviv the hi-tech industry ranked first and the information and communications sector ranked second.

Translation: Merav Datan

Monday, February 6, 2017

What Would You Like to Buy?

Lior Regev
Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research

One of the indices of a country’s economic status is the rate of ownership of durable goods. Durable goods are purchased once every few years and include, for example, furniture, cars, or electric appliances such as a refrigerator, stove, or washing machine. In the modern capitalist economy, which relies on the market system and private property, ownership of durable goods serves as an indicator of a household’s economic welfare and standard of living.

The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) conducts an annual survey that examines ownership of various goods and services, among other factors (Survey of Household Expenditures). The list of goods whose ownership the CBS examines is updated annually, in accordance with economic development and technological preferences. A review of previous surveys finds that in the past it examined ownership of video players, which was later updated to DVD players. Perhaps future surveys will examine ownership of wrist-band microchips that project movies onto walls….

For some goods, increasing ownership rates corresponded with a rising standard of living, but the increase over the years was gradual. For example, the percentage of Israeli households that owned at least one vehicle was 55% in 1999, 58% in 2005, 62% in 2009, and 65% in 2014.

A comparison across cities finds that differences in vehicle ownership rates are relatively small. In 2005, 50% of Jerusalem households owned a vehicle – very comparable to rate for Tel Aviv (50%) and slightly lower than the rate for Haifa (53%). A decade later, in 2014, 60% of Tel Aviv households owned a vehicle – comparable to the rate for Haifa (61%) and higher than the rate for Jerusalem, at only 56%. The relative consistency of vehicle ownership rates reflects the high cost of owning this means of transportation and the economic stratification of households in Israel.

For other goods, ownership rates saw a dramatic increase over the years, as well as differences across various cities. The most salient example is air conditioners, which were seen historically as less necessary in Jerusalem given its comfortable climate relative to cities in central Israel. In 1999, for example, only 12% of Jerusalem households reported owning an air conditioner, compared with 42% in Tel Aviv and 39% in Haifa.

The rising standard of living alongside global warming has transformed air conditioners from a luxury item into a good that is essential for surviving the interminable Israeli summer. In 2014, a decisive majority (94%) of Tel Aviv households reported that they own an air conditioner. In Haifa the rate was 84%, comparable to the figure for Israel (82%). Jerusalem, too, has shown a significant increase in recent years, from 41% in 2009 to 60% in 2014, but it still has a long way to go to catch up with the coastal cities.

Translation: Merav Datan

Monday, January 30, 2017

Suburban Lawn or Penthouse Garden?

Yair Assaf-Shapira
Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research

According to World Bank statistics, Israel’s population density is among the highest in the world (387 residents per square kilometer on average). We also live in one of the most urbanized countries in the world, with 91% of the population residing in urban areas.

One might expect, therefore, that construction in Israel would be characterized by high density and high-rise buildings, so as to conserve space. But the Central Bureau of Statistics’ data on construction starts indicate that this is not necessarily the case. Until 2009-2010, most of the housing units being built in Israel formed part of low-rise buildings with 1-4 stories (52% in 2009-2010). Of this low-rise construction, a large majority were not buildings of 3-4 stories but, rather, 1-2 stories – that is, detached or semi-detached ground-level homes, which constitute 80% of the low-rise construction in Israel.

The good news is that the scope of low-rise construction (1-4 stories) is declining. During the years 2014-2015 such construciton accounted for only 38% of Israel’s housing units, compared with a figure of 20% for buildings containing 5-8 stories and 42% for buildings with 9 or more stories. In 2014-2015, high-rise construction (9 or more stories) surpassed low-rise construction (1-4 stories) for the first time. Yet as noted, the vast majority (80%) of low-rise construction still comprises detached and semi-detached ground-level homes (1-2 stories), and this figure remains constant. Of the housing units constructed in Israel during 2014-2015, 31% were such ground-level dwellings.

And what about metropolitan centers? Evidently there is a similar trend – construction rates for housing units in high-rise buildings are increasing while the rates for low-rise construction are decreasing. In Jerusalem the proportion of low-rise construction (1-4 stories) for 2014-2015 was 26%, and for high-rise construction (9 or more stories) the figure was 47%. In Jerusalem high-rise construction surpassed low-rise construction for the first time in 2008-2009 – that is, Jerusalem was 6 years ahead of Israel as a whole. But Tel Aviv outpaced Jerusalem. In the core areas of metropolitan Tel Aviv (Tel Aviv – Yafo itself and adjacent cities) high-rise construction surpassed low-rise construction as early as 2003-2004, that is, 5 years before Jerusalem and 11 years before Israel.

Even in the metropolitan cities – Jerusalem and the metropolitan core of Tel Aviv – a high percentage of low-rise construction comprises detached and semi-detached ground-level homes. In Jerusalem such dwellings constituted 40% of all low-rise construction during 2014-2015 (and 11% of all construction), and in the core of metropolitan Tel Aviv they accounted for 54% of all low-rise construction (and 7% of all construction). Presumably there is a demand for suburban-style ground-level homes in cities as well, and perhaps the thinking is that building such units will attract a “high-quality” populace. But this type of construction might not be suitable for a country as densely populated as ours.

Translation: Merav Datan

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A post about Postdoc

Lior Lehrs
Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research

The term “postdoctoral” (or “postdoc”) refers to the period of study and independent research that follows the receipt of a doctoral degree (PhD) – an important stage in academic life. This period might last anywhere from one to several years. A 2010 survey by the Central Bureau of Statistics (“Career Survey of PhD graduates”) revealed that one-third (33%) of PhD graduates in Israel pursued postdoctoral studies. Among men with PhDs, 35% pursued postdoctoral studies, compared with 31% of women. The highest percentage of postdoctoral scholars were recorded in the physical sciences, mathematics, statistics, and computer science (33%), followed by the biological sciences (33%). A total of 11% of postdocs were in the social sciences and law, and 9% in the humanities.
The survey also indicates that nearly half of Israeli postdocs (48%) completed their postdoctoral studies in the United States, compared with 32% in Israel and about 3% in England. Almost half of the women postdocs completed their postdoctoral studies in Israel (48%), whereas among men the figure was only 23%. A review of postdoctoral studies by field of study reveals a significant difference between men and women. In the physical sciences, mathematics, statistics, and computer science most of the postdocs were men (75%), while in the humanities most were women (58%). In the social sciences and law the distribution was 60% men and 40% women.
In 2014 the Central Bureau of Statistics in cooperation with Israeli universities collected data regarding PhD graduates enrolled in postdoctoral studies in Israel during that year. A total of 58% were Israeli postdocs and 42% were foreign. The academic institute with the highest percentage of postdocs in 2014 was the Weizmann Institute (29%), followed by the Hebrew University (21%) and Ben-Gurion University (13%). Among Israelis half were men, while among foreigners 70% were men. These data reinforce what the 2010 survey found: women, more than men, tend to pursue postdoctoral studies in their home countries. Among postdocs in Israel, 42% were 35 years old or younger, and 51% were in the 36-45 age range. In 2014 the highest percentages of postdocs in Israel were in the biological sciences (27%) and physical sciences (26%), followed by mathematics, statistics, and computer science (9%), and engineering and architecture (9%).
Many in Israel are concerned that postdoctoral scholars will remain abroad rather than return to Israel. The 2010 survey by the Central Bureau of Statistics reveals that 10% of PhD graduates who received their degrees between the academic years 1984-85 and 2007-08 resided abroad for three or more years. Among these the highest percentages were PhD graduates in mathematics (21%) and computer science (18%). In general it appears that among PhD graduates in the hard sciences, a higher percentage remain abroad for three or more years (14%) than among PhD graduates in the social sciences and humanities (4%). Among PhD graduates in the hard sciences and engineering, the percentage who remained abroad for a long time is higher for graduates of the Weizmann Institute (19%) and the Technion (17%), followed by graduates of the Hebrew University (14%). Among PhD graduates in the social sciences and humanities, the percentage who remained abroad for a long time is higher among graduates of the Technion (6%) and Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University (5%).

Translated by Merav Datan

Monday, January 9, 2017

Respect Their Authority

Omer Yaniv
Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research

Police data show that during the year 2014, the number of events requiring a police response in the Jerusalem District totaled 225,000, a 15% rise from 2012. During these years, a rise of 8% was recorded in the number of calls to the police emergency number 100 in Jerusalem. These calls include quarrels among neighbors and noise complaints. Criminal felonies, on the other hand, have dropped by 17% during the same years, from 5,722 in 2012 to 4,746 in 2014.
Crime, so it seems, does not reign the streets of the capital, but that's not how the residents see it. In the Social Survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics, respondents were asked about their trust in the police and about their experience with crime and public order issues. In most subjects, residents of Jerusalem replied that they witnessed illegal activities in higher percentages than did the residents of Tel Aviv and Haifa, and in higher percentages than the national average.
A quarter of Jerusalem's residents said that they witnessed cases of property destruction or vandalism – more than the national average at 19%, as well as the figure in Tel Aviv and Haifa. Fourteen percent of the respondents from Jerusalem said that they have seen drug users or dealers in the city, slightly higher than the national average. Hate-crimes were also reported by Jerusalemites in higher percentages than in Haifa and Tel Aviv. quarrels among neighbors, as opposed to the above, were reported at a slightly lower percentage in Jerusalem (17%), than in Tel Aviv (18%) or Haifa (19%). Inappropriate conduct or drunkenness was reported by 18% of Jerusalem residents, compared with 22% of residents in Tel Aviv and 20% in Haifa.
Considering these data, one can understand why only 32% of Jerusalem's residents replied positively when asked whether they trust the police, compared with 40% in Tel Aviv, and 51% in Haifa.

Sources: Central Bureau of Statistics - Social Survey 2014
Israel Police Statistical Yearbook