By Nadav Shragai Haaretz 4 December 2006
For the first time ever, in 2005 the Arab and Jewish birthrates in Jerusalem
were equivalent at 3.9 children per woman. An American-Israeli research
report recently submitted to Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski found that the
Arab fertility rate in Jerusalem has dropped in recent years, while the
fertility rate among Jewish women in the capital has risen.
Dr. Maya Choshen of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, who edits
the Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem, confirmed that the data used to
compare Jewish and Arab birthrates was accurate, but noted it only covered
one year. "Statistical trends must be examined over a number of years before
reaching conclusions," Choshen added.
The researchers Bennett Zimmerman, Roberta Seid, Michael Wise and Yoram
Ettinger recommend annexing 100,000 Palestinians to Jerusalem in order to
resolve the city's demographic problem. According to the four, as a result
of annexing additional East Jerusalem territory leading toward Ma'aleh
Adumim, Givat Ze'ev and Gush Etzion, the Jewish population will also
increase by tens of thousands and negative Jewish emigration out of the
capital will be reduced.
Recently, the political parties of Kadima and Labor have adopted the
approach that outskirts of the city with large Arab populations should be
removed from the Jerusalem jurisdiction to resolve the capital's demographic
This could make the city a magnet for the Jewish population, tipping the
demographic scales toward it. "Avoiding expanding city territory, due to
concerns of a demographic burden, will increase the housing and employment
burden and accelerate negative emigration out of Jerusalem," the report
The researchers reiterate previous findings that Jerusalem's key problem is
negative Jewish emigration, which stems from tight housing and job markets.
They attribute the distress to a lack of land for transportation
infrastructure, which they say is only resolvable by doubling city
In the 2000-2003 period, 63,000 residents left Jerusalem, while only 37,000
moved to the capital. In the past 25 years, 311,000 residents have moved
away, while 208,000 Jews have changed their place of residence to the city.
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