a different side of Israel

Tag: Population

Crises and Solutions

photo by Scott Krane

As the Knesset has decided to build homes in East Jerusalem and settlements in Judea and Samaria such as the town of Ariel, a wave of adverse sentiments stress that this solution is counter-intuitive.

Sever Plocker of Ynet wrote that “east Jerusalem, West Bank settlements and the Golan Heights in Israel’s statistic figures reduces the per capita income and increases inequality.” He gets his facts from a recent study done by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Have a look at data done by the study:
Israel’s population within the Green Line included 6.7 million residents in 2009. An additional 440,000 residents lived in east Jerusalem, 290,000 in West Bank settlements, and 41,000 in the Golan Heights. From 1997 to 2009, the east Jerusalem population grew by 40% and the settlement population rose by almost 100% – at a pace of 8% a year. The Israeli population within the Green Line grew at a pace of only 2.2% a year during that period.

The economic inequality in the territories, which include the settlements and east Jerusalem, is 10% higher compared to the inequality in income within the Green Line – and in both cases it is one of the highest among OECD members.

The poverty rate in Israel, both within the Green Line and in the territories, is the second highest among developed countries – after Mexico.

The inclusion of the settlements and east Jerusalem adds about 4% to Israel’s gross domestic product, but reduces the GDP per capita by a significant rate of 6.5% a year. “Without east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the settlement, the GDP per capita within the Green Line would have been 6.5% higher. The post-1967 territories pushed Israel’s GDP per capita down,” the OECD rules.

In the budget year of 2007, the Israeli government spent some NIS 12.5 billion (NIS 14.5 billion in 2011 prices) on the West Bank settlements, Golan Heights and the annexed part of east Jerusalem – a 10% addition to the State Budget. In addition, NIS 5.5 billion were invested that year in the settlements and east Jerusalem, NIS 2.4 billion of them on housing construction.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at the Knesset Finance Committee in response to the month long protests for social justice said the issues will “not be solved in days, but in weeks”.

Bibi said told reporters,

“They lived beyond their means using financial leverage and loans. That bubble has now popped… In addition to global issues Israel has specific problems. The first is housing, because Israelis pay three times the Americans do for housing and that’s not fair. The second one is deformity in taxes, and the third is that we have cartels and monopolies and we will take care of this. The last problem is the distribution of the burden…Certainly not in days, but we will do it in weeks…”

Full House Even Without A Baby Boom

Israelis have for decades been worried about the exponentially growing rate of Palestinians and Arab Israelis. They fear that, as equal citizens, if the ratio of Arabs to Jews in Israel grows disproportionate enough, Arabs could soon control the Knesset and young Israel might cease to be a Jewish nation.

Israeli arab womenWell the birthrate of Muslims in Israel is actually on the decline, though out of any other ethnicity in the country, it is still by far the largest. According to new data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics: the growth rate of Israel’s Muslim population stayed at 2.8% in 2008, compared to 3.8% in 2000. The Druze population was 1.8% last year. The Christian population grew at 1.3% and the Jewish population growth rate stood at 1.6%.

Jaffa MosqueLast year the Muslim population totaled 1.24 million people – that’s 34,000 more residents than the end of 2007. The majority of Muslim Arabs live in the north with 21.4% in Jerusalem. 11.3% are in the Mercaz region, 13.8% are in the south and only 1.2% of the Muslim population is in the greater Tel Aviv district.

The 256,000 Muslims in Jerusalem make up one-third of the city’s population and the majority of residents in Nazareth are the 46,000 Muslims there.

While the fertility rate among Muslim women in Israel has dropped steadily in the last few years from 4.7 babies in the year 2008 to 3.8 in 2008 – however this Muslim birthrate is still higher than women’s fertility rate is still higher than that of Jews, Druze and Christians in the country – but also, and this is crucial, higher than the fertility rate for Muslims in other Sunni countries:

In Israel there is an average 3.1 children for each woman, in Syria and Jordan there is 2.9, in Morocco 2.4, in Algeria 2.2, Lebanon 1.9 and in Tunisia in Northern Africa there is an average 1.9 children per mother in Muslim households.

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