Occupied Jerusalem – On the occasion of the 56th anniversary of the occupation of East Jerusalem, the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics published remarkable data on the Holy City, stating that the balance of internal migration remained negative in Jerusalem in 2022 compared to other cities, due to the migration of about 27,700 settlers from it to other cities and settlements. .
According to the results of an opinion poll conducted by the Israeli Channel 12, 65% of Israelis believe that Jerusalem is not united, while 23% believe that it is unified. In the same poll, 62% of the Israelis expressed their refusal to live in Jerusalem, compared to 30% who expressed their willingness to do so.
These figures are frustrating for the Israeli government, which is pumping huge budgets to Judaize Jerusalem, promote settlement, and encourage new Jewish immigrants to settle there.
How many Jews in Jerusalem? What is their percentage of the population?
According to data published by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics on the occasion of the "unification of Jerusalem" day, which coincides with the 56th anniversary of the occupation of the east of the Holy City (west Jerusalem was occupied in the Nakba in 1948), the number of Jews in 2022 reached 595,000 out of about a million people living in the city. It represents 60.8% of the total population.
What are the religious divisions of the Jews in Jerusalem?
According to data issued by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics in 2021, the Jews in Jerusalem are divided into the following classifications:
34% Haredi Jews: Those who are religiously extremist, not nationalistic. 26% are traditional Jews: they are neither secular nor puritanical, and adhere to the minimum religious requirements. 20% are secular Jews: they are not religious and do not adhere to any of the religious obligations. 19% are religious Jews: the ultranationalists.
The data also shows that since 2002, the percentage of Haredim in Jerusalem has increased, while the percentage of non-religious traditional settlers has decreased.
Has the Israeli government succeeded, by pumping huge budgets into the Judaization of Jerusalem, in making the city attractive to Jews?
A poll by the Israeli Channel 12 showed that 62% of Israelis refuse to live in Jerusalem, compared to 30% who are willing to do so.
The Palestinian researcher specializing in Israeli affairs, Khaldoun Al-Barghouti, believes that about two-thirds of Jews refuse to live in Jerusalem, compared to a third who accepts this. Those who see it as their city, and among the intruders who impose themselves in it by force of arms.
In addition, the balance of negative immigration from Jerusalem is outweighed by internal and external immigration to it, according to recent data from the Israeli Statistics Department.
And in 2022, about 12,200 settlers entered to live in Jerusalem, coming from the settlements and cities of Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Bnei Brak, and Beit Shemesh, while 27,700 settlers left the city to the settlements of Givat Zeev, Beit Shemesh, and the cities of Tel Aviv and Jaffa, and thus the internal migration reduced the number of settlers in Jerusalem by about 15. 1,500 people in just one year.
Negative immigration data from Jerusalem – in recent years – prompted the Israeli government to allocate an amount of 95 million shekels (26 million dollars) to encourage Jewish immigrants from the category of young people between the ages of 18 and 35 years to settle in Jerusalem.
This will be done through a plan that will be implemented over a period of 3 years, which was formulated in cooperation between the Ministries of Immigration and Absorption, Education, Culture and Sports, and the Occupation Municipality in Jerusalem.
What classification of the holy city economically? What is the effect of the intense presence of the Haredim on the living conditions of the Jews?
Jerusalem is considered one of the poorest cities in the country, because the "Haredi" (religious) Jews constitute a great burden on their state. They do not receive their education in the various life sciences and devote their time to learning religious sciences that do not help them integrate into the Israeli labor market.
And because the Israeli economy – according to the researcher specializing in Israeli affairs, Adel Shadid – is modern, diverse and developed and depends on certain qualifications. The Haredim cannot engage in it on the one hand, and on the other hand they do not want to go to the labor market because they practice the religious duty of religious education and believe that they were created to worship God and marry. And they give birth to increase the offspring of the Jews only.
They drain huge budgets from their government, which cannot turn its back on them, as they are the group that helps to resolve the demography in Jerusalem in favor of the Jews. With this situation, secular Jews face the challenge of compensating for the crisis and bridging the economic gap in the city.
Why do Jews, especially secular people, not prefer to live in Jerusalem?
Because, according to the researcher Shadid, the Haredim are trying to impose their lifestyles on all segments of the population, and the secularists find a crisis in adapting to that, and some of them believe that dealing with the Arabs east of the city – despite the difficulty of that – is easier than getting along with the Haredim.
And because these people constitute the majority, the migration of secular people, especially young and qualified people, and young couples from Jerusalem to other cities and settlements is noted.
The religious imposition of themselves is reflected in the character of the city in the areas in which they settle, to the extent that some neighborhoods are almost forbidden to non-religious people.
According to researcher Khaldoun Al-Barghouti, this reality is reflected in the rising level of poverty among the Jews. Statistics show that the occupation municipality in Jerusalem could collapse if the Israeli government did not provide it with support amounting to one billion shekels (about $270 million).
This is due to the fact that the city is not a center for business, companies and industrial areas, while the religious – especially those who devote themselves to studying the Torah – constitute a large percentage of those who receive government financial support without being productive.
To what degree does the security situation affect the stability of Jews in Jerusalem?
The security factor is linked to their religious orientations. The researcher, Al-Barghouti, says that liberals, especially from the center and the left, prefer the Tel Aviv area and its surroundings, as it represents their political and ideological orientations, scientific levels, and the nature of their work. They seek to forget the existence of the occupation in order to avoid its reality and being affected by its consequences.
The permanent state of conflict in Jerusalem in particular constitutes a situation that these people avoid by moving away from it, in contrast to the increase in ultra-Orthodox Haredim and followers of "religious Zionism" who seek to impose their religious and political agenda in the city, which contributes to an increase in security tension and confrontations with the Palestinians.
For his part, the researcher Shadid believes that the security factor needs a deep study, but he is certain that one of the main reasons for the internal movements in Israel is the religious and ethnic dimension, because the Jewish community is sharply divided, and its components are unable to adapt to each other.