Photo Credit: Nir Barkat's Facebook page
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat

On the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat issued a press release extolling the state of his city: “On the 50th anniversary of its reunification, Jerusalem is a flourishing, thriving city – in the fields of education, hi-tech and culture, in business and all areas of life,” the mayor announced, adding, “This year, we have engaged in an exceptionally important struggle for the future of Jerusalem, aimed at realizing numerous programs which will change the face of the city, and will markedly improve its quality of life. In 2017, we will continue investing in all of these areas of life.”

“On this day, as we celebrate Jerusalem, let us all ‘exalt Jerusalem above our utmost joy,’ and build her for future generations. I wish all of us a successful year in Jerusalem,” Barkat said, and boasted: “On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem shows exciting trends in education, hi-tech, housing and construction, tourism, culture, and the arts.”

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Barkat attached some impressive stats:

 In the last six years, there has been a steady, ongoing 26% increase in the number of Grade 1 students in the Zionist sector, rising from 3842 students in 5773 to 4853 students in 5778.
 In the last six years, there has been a steady, ongoing 13% increase in the number of Grade 7 students in the Zionist sector, rising from 2770 students in 5773 to 3124 students in 5778.
 The Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research reports: in the last two years there has been a 28% increase in hi-tech employees in Jerusalem (compared to a national average of 8%). In 2015, there were 18,500 hi-tech employees in the city, compared to 14,400 in 2013.
 78% of the tourists who arrived in Israel in 2016 visited Jerusalem, and 51% of the tourists who arrived in Israel stayed overnight in the city.
 In 2016, construction permits were granted for 2534 new housing units in the city, compared to 2262 in 2015.
 In the last two years, 140 new playgrounds have been upgraded in the city, and in 2017, 50 additional playgrounds will be upgraded.
 In 2016, 3118 new immigrants made Aliyah [immigrated] to Jerusalem. Since 2011, 18,577 new immigrants have made Aliyah to Jerusalem.
 According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 92% are satisfied with their lives (93% of the Jewish population, and 89% of the Arab population), which is slightly higher than the rate in the general population (88%).

To those of us non-Jerusalemites who have been complaining that the holy city could stand a little cleanup, Barkat also shared his plans in that area for Jerusalem this year: “100 new cleaning staff will be added for upgrading public spaces across the city; garbage collection routes will be added to improve neighborhood cleanliness; manual sweeping operations will be extended; cleaning operations in the Eastern neighborhoods will be upgraded; new themed neighborhood parks will be established (similar to the Gonenim Park); additional off-leash dog parks will be built in the neighborhoods; new parks will be established in the city’s Eastern neighborhoods; millions of flowers will be planted across the entire city; dozens of city roads and sidewalks will be renovated.”

Jerusalem has rated quite low in terms of the educational achievements of its elementary and high school students, especially among Haredim and Arabs, and so, according to Mayor Barkat, “an innovative program will be implemented in the elementary schools, which is an educational revolution in the management and curriculum for elementary schools; the municipal Information Communication Technology (ICT) program will expand its operations; the ’11th month program’ will be continued and expanded; kindergarten playgrounds will be renovated; dozens of urban renewal programs will be implemented across the entire city.”

Jerusalem has been plagued by a housing shortage, and so, according to Barkat, “plans for 9,000 residential units as part of ‘Pinui Binui’ [evacuation and construction], and about 1,000 as part of TAMA 38 [National Outline Plan 38] will be advanced; plans will advanced for the establishment of seven employment centers in Har Hotzvim, Talpiot, at the entrance to the city and other locations, adding 1,235 acres to the urban business space.”

Traffic and parking in Jerusalem are worse than even its rival Tel Aviv, and so, according to Barkat, “plans will advanced for additional Light Rail lines in the city; the Red Line will continue to extend to Hadassah Ein Kerem, Givat Ram and Mount Scopus; development for covering Begin Road; plans to connect the university and Beit HaKerem; plans to upgrade traffic in the north of the city will be advanced – dividing the intersection at the French Hill junction and the Eastern Ring Road; improvement of traffic at Duchifat Street; development of public transportation routes; improvement of traffic to Mount Scopus; and bike paths will be developed in city neighborhoods, which will connect to the Sovev Jerusalem trail.”

Nothing to do in Jerusalem? Not any more. According to Barkat, “the budget for culture and sports events will increase across all city sectors; the 20th Maccabiah Games will be held in the city; and the country’s largest aquarium will be inaugurated in the Biblical Zoo (because nothing brings marine life to mind more than Jerusalem).”

Also in the Barkat press release: “A business incubator will be developed for social businesses in the city; the first ‘gadget lab’ will be open in the city as a collaborative effort between Intel and various startups and developers; hundreds of events will be held in cooperation with downtown businesses for the creative class; and more than 30 place-making initiatives will begin in partnership with artists and residents in the city center and across the neighborhoods.”

Finally, some more great Jerusalem stats:

 At the end of 2015, the population of Jerusalem stood at 865,700 residents, an increase of 1.9% from the previous year (compared to 2% in Israel).
 Over the course of 2015, the population of Jerusalem grew by 16,000 residents.
 There were 23,600 births in Jerusalem in 2015, which represented 13% of all births in Israel.
 In 2015, 10,300 individuals moved to Jerusalem (migrated to the city) from other locations in Israel. In the same year, 18,100 residents moved away.

Breakthroughs in Jerusalem Education

 More and more families are choosing to build their homes in Jerusalem: following a decade of decline, in the last 8 years there has been a steady increase in national and national religious education, along with continued growth of all sectors.
 In the last six years, there has been a steady, ongoing 26% increase in the number of Grade 1 students in the Zionist sector, rising from 3842 students in 2013 to 4853 students in 2018
 In the last six years, there has been a steady, ongoing 13% increase in the number of Grade 7 students in the Zionist sector, rising from 2770 students in 2013 to 3124 students in 2018
 This year, the Municipality started construction of 1,000 new classrooms across Jerusalem, with an investment of 1 billion NIS by way of a proposal initiated by the Jerusalem Municipality to provide a solution to the existing shortage in all city sectors
 Higher education – in 2015-16, 36,200 students studied in all higher education institutions in Jerusalem. 18,300 students studied in the Hebrew University, 11,600 students studied in seven academic colleges and 6,200 in four colleges.
 74% of the students studying in the city are satisfied with living in Jerusalem.
 75% of the students studying in the city (year 3) expect that they will continue living in Jerusalem for the next two years.

Jerusalem, Israel’s Start-Up Capital

 In the last two years, there has been a 28% increase in hi-tech employees in Jerusalem (compared to a national average of 8%). In 2013, there were 14,400 hi-tech employees in Jerusalem, compared to 18,500 in 2015.
 Jerusalem will become the autonomous vehicle capital with the expansion of the Mobileye Company in the city.

Tourism

 In 2015, there were 2,568,300 overnight stays by foreign tourists and 905,800 overnight stays by Israelis.
 78% of the tourists who arrived in Israel in 2016 visited Jerusalem, and 51% of the tourists who arrived in Israel stayed there overnight.
 69% of the tourists visited the Western Wall, 64% – the Jewish Quarter, 55% – the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, 49% – Via Dolorosa, 49% – the Mount of Olives, 37% – the City of David, 28% – the Tower of David, 20% – Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, 19% – the Garden Tomb, 16% – the Israel Museum and 8% – Al Aqsa mosque.

Leading in Construction

 In 2016, the construction of 3,120 housing units was completed in the city.
 In 2016, construction permits were granted for 2534 new housing units, as compared to 2262 in 2015.
 In 2016, construction permits were granted for 230 new housing units as part of TAMA 38, as compared to only 19 housing units in 2014.
 Jerusalem is the first city in which an urban renewal administration was established, where Pinui Binui programs for adding about 9,000 housing units in the city are being advanced, with over 1,000 housing units in the program already approved.

Green Jerusalem

 In the last two years, 140 new playgrounds have been upgraded and another 50 playgrounds will be upgraded in 2017.
 In the last year, shade structures were installed in 55 existing city playgrounds, and in the coming year, another 100 shade structures will be installed in city gardens.
 The multi-year plan to replace all the city’s garbage containers with in-ground garbage containers is ongoing. In the last year, 300 containers were concealed through in-ground construction, and this year, up to 300 more in-ground garbage containers will be installed across the city.

Jerusalem – Leading in Culture

 The Municipality of Jerusalem supports over 60 cultural institutions through various support channels, amounting to approximately 50 million NIS.
 There are over ten museums in Jerusalem, and it is the leading city in the number and diversity of its museums – two of Israel’s main museums are housed in Jerusalem: the Israel Museum and Yad Vashem, which by themselves attract close to two million visitors annually.
 Jerusalem has seven schools of the arts, and it has the highest concentration of arts schools in the country.
 The city has ten theatres and various theatre groups, including the renowned Khan Repertory Theatre and the Incubator Theater established by Nissan Nativ Acting Studio graduates, a theater of satire with a young contemporary spirit.
 Jerusalem hosts a wealth of festivals. Some are of long-standing, such as the Israel Festival, the world-renowned International Chamber Music Festival, the Biennale for Drawing, the Oud Festival, the Piyut Festival, and the International Writers Festival, and others are new and current, such as the International Jazz Festival, and the Piano Festival, which give a platform to Israeli musicians and performers who are well-known worldwide, but often do not perform in Israel, the International Biennale of Jewish Art, and many more.
 The Municipality recently conducted the ground-breaking at the Kirsh Family Jerusalem Arts Campus in downtown Jerusalem. The site will be a campus for the performing arts, and will house four schools, which are currently renting across the city, the Sam Spiegel Film School, the School of Visual Theater, Nissan Nativ Acting Studio, and the Center for Middle Eastern Classical Music. The site is at an advanced stage of construction, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
 Simultaneously, work is continuing for the Bezalel Campus in the center of the city (the Russian Compound). When these projects are completed, downtown Jerusalem is expected to be transformed to a center with a young, vibrant student atmosphere.

Sport

 The project to upgrade and renovate about 70 sports facilities, and to build 130 small, community sports facilities in the neighborhoods will continue this year.
 The Municipality is building 3 swimming pools in the neighborhoods, and another 3 pools are in planning stages.
 Jerusalem has become the leading city for hosting international sporting events: the International Jerusalem Marathon – with the participation of about 30,000 runners from 64 countries around the world. Jerusalem is getting ready for hosting the 20th Maccabiah Games to be held in July 2017, and also to host the International Children’s Games which will be held for the first time in Israel in 2018.
 Along with many upgrades and new facilities the city is constructing for the Maccabiah, the Kraft Family Sports Campus will open, which was donated with a generous 6 million contribution from Robert K. Kraft. The Campus will be used for soccer and football tournaments and include 2 soccer fields and a football field.

Transport – Building the Future

 The development of the light rail is continuing with the approval of the Light Rail’s “Blue Line” running from the neighborhood of Gilo, through the city center to the neighborhood of Ramot. A second branch will connect Malha, Emek Refaim, the Khan Theatre and extend to Ramot. The line is about 20 km long, and will serve about 250 thousand commuters every day. The Blue Line will be added to the Light Rail network: the Red Line which is already operating and the Green Line which is in advanced stages of approval at the District Committee.

Immigrants choose Jerusalem

 In 2016, 3118 new immigrants made Aliyah to Jerusalem. Since 2011, 18,577 new immigrants have made Aliyah to Jerusalem.

Satisfaction with life in Jerusalem

 92% of individuals aged 20 and up in Jerusalem are satisfied with their lives (93% of Jews, and 89% of Arabs), which is slightly higher than the rate in the general population (88%).
 60% of Jerusalem’s residents are satisfied with their economic status (68% of Jews, and 43% of Arabs) which is a similar rate to those satisfied with their economic status in the general population. Furthermore, 57% of the city’s employed residents are satisfied with their income (similarly to the national rate – 59%), and 85% are satisfied with their jobs. Among salaried employees, 27% are members of a workers organization.
 72% of Jerusalem’s residents are satisfied with their area of residence (86% of Jews, compared to 44% of Arabs). In all of Israel, 83% are satisfied with their area of residence (86% of Jews, and 67% of Arabs).
 74% of young adults and young families living in the city would recommend to a close friend to live in Jerusalem.
 85% of young adults and young families estimate that they will continue living in Jerusalem for the next two years.

Data: The Strategic Planning Division – Jerusalem Municipality. Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, Central Bureau of Statistics.

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