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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
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JERUSALEM DAY

Everything You Need to Know about the World’s Holiest City

What's the secret of this city that's growing faster than most, while few of its residents are happy with the amenities?
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Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90

Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, is also its largest city. Its surface area comes to about 31 thousand acres, and in 2011 it had 804,400 residents, 499,400 Jews (62%), 281,000 Muslim (35%), 14,700 Christian (about 2%), 9,000 without religious classification on the Ministry of the Interior’s data, and about 200 Druze.

Back in 1948, Jerusalem’s population was about 82,900.

In 2012, Jerusalemites had some 22,800 babies, with 14,600 born to Jewish mothers (64%) and 7,900 to Muslim mothers (about 35%). Jerusalem babies constituted 13.3% of all the babies born last year.

The average Jerusalem woman gives birth to 3.9 children (higher than the national average of just 3).

The average Jerusalem household has 3.9 people, compared with the average elsewhere running between 3.3 (Ashdod) and 2.2 (Tel Aviv).

However, in 2012 only 50.5% of the population were part of the workforce, compared with 63.6% country-wide. And 7.8% of Jerusalemites were unemployed, compared with the national unemployment rate of 6.9%.

As many as 84.4% of employees in Jerusalem also live in Jerusalem. Only 63.4% of Tel Aviv employees also live in Tel Aviv.

As many as 31% of Jerusalem residents say they are “very pleased” with their city – that’s 41% of the Jews but only 13% of the Arabs. Another 57% are “pleased” and only 12% are plain unhappy.

However, the rate of Jerusalemites who are pleased with the cleanliness in their city is a mere 43%. In other towns it can get as high as 65% (Rishon Letzion).

A whopping 32% of Jerusalem residents say they’re Haredim, 21% say they’re just religious, 16% are traditional but not so religious, and about 19% are secular. Some 2% preferred not to answer, which is understandable, being that close to the transcendental.

In the school year 5772 (2011-12) 37,700 students attended institutions of higher education in Jerusalem.

Out of Israel’s six largest cities (the other five being Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ashdod, Rishon Letzion and Petach Tikva), Jerusalem residents spend the least per capita each month: $931.73.

Also, Jerusalem households own fewer entertainment gadgets than any of the six largest cities.

In 2012, 1,605 vehicles were involved in road accidents where someone was hurt – happily, that’s down 14% compared with 2011.

Finally, only 43% of Jerusalem residents say they are happy with the amount of park and recreation areas they get in their city—compared with the national average of 60%, and as high as 71% in Tel Aviv and Ashdod, and an amazing 76% in Rishon Letzion.

So how come Jerusalem continues to be the most crowded Israeli city? Because it’s Jerusalem, obviously. And that, my friends, is something Rishon Letzion is never going to be.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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14 Responses to “Everything You Need to Know about the World’s Holiest City”

  1. Dan Steeves says:

    Is Jerusalem really the "world's most holy city?" And what makes it the most holy city? Actually it is FAR from holy having been raped and razed to the ground almost 2,000 years ago by the romans.

  2. Chaiya Eitan says:

    Well, it's really been built up since then! You should come and see!

  3. Gil Gilman says:

    Mr. Steeves thinking is imprecise at best. By his reasoning, his savior is not holy, because he was stripped naked, tortured, hung on a cross, pierced by a roman spear, had his garments despoiled by guards, and died. But, Mr. Steeves would answer, his savior was resurrected. And I would say, Jerusalem has been resurrected, so why isn't it holy?

  4. Gil Gilman says:

    If I forget you, O Jerusalem,

    May my right hand forget her cunning.

    May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.

    If I do not remember you,

    If I do not exalt Jerusalem.

    Above my chief joy.

  5. Gil Gilman says:

    If I forget you, O Jerusalem, May my right hand forget her cunning. May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth If I do not remember you, If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy.

  6. Dan Steeves says:

    Well let's put it another way Mr. Eitan & Mr. Gilman. What made Jerusalem holy was the temple and the levitical priesthood officiating at the temple. The temple was burned to the ground and the levite priesthood eliminated. Neither the temple nor the levite priesthood would ever be rebuilt and restored. Jerusalem is now ruled by politicians. And you still call it holy?

  7. Yori Yanover says:

    Try getting a 100 shekel ticket for parking by a broken meter outside the Knesset. You'll never forget it!

  8. Yori Yanover says:

    Dan Steeves · I'll tell you a story. During the Holocaust, a Nazi officer grabbed the Rebbe of Kloizenberg in the town square and asked him if he still thought the Jews were the chosen people. He pointed out the obvious signs that God was not on the side of Jews at that moment, and beat the daylights out of the old man.

    "Of course we're the chosen people," the bruised and bleeding rabbi finally said.

    So two SS men messed with the old fellow like a rag doll, and left him in a pool of his own blood, just this side of dying. And the officer repeated his question.

    "You know why we're the chosen people?" the Kloizenberger said. "Because we would never do this," and he pointed to his bleeding face.

    You see, Dan Steeves, you can beat us and rip us and murder us and throw our ashes on the ground and throw salt on our fields, and we still get up and flock to Jerusalem. It's the holiest city in the world because we made it so.

  9. Tim Upham says:

    Maybe the city of Varanasi can be a role model for Jerusalem. The city lies completely in India, and it is holy to Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists. So cannot Jerusalem lie completely in Israel, and be holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims?

  10. Gil Gilman says:

    Actually, Jerusalem is holy based not on any single opinion, but because Hashem has declared it so. "At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem; neither shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers." You can look it up.

  11. Sorry but no Muslims do not consider it holy. That is a lie invented by the Grand Mufti in the 1930s to get money.

    Jerusalem needs no role models and it is completely within Israel and we refuse to surrender it to the Islamic fascist horde regardless of what people like you want

  12. Dan Steeves says:

    If the God of ancient Israel still considered Jerusalem to be holy He would have protected the jews from the roman onslaught 20 centuries ago and from the Nazi holocaust 70 years ago. The fact is many jews betrayed their brothers and collaborated with SS in the extermination of jews in the nazi death camps. Don't believe me? Research it.

  13. Tim Upham says:

    Al-Aqsa Mosque was built in 705 C.E. The Dome of the Rock was built in 691 C.E. So was the Grand Mutfi over a thousand years old? So it is not what I say, or what the Grand Mufti said during the 1930's. Both structures are there, and that is a given.

  14. Ahron Ebert says:

    like George Soros.

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