Jerusalem Dips, Tel Aviv Suburbs Rise in New Israeli City Ranking

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Jerusalem is home to three distinct communities, which generally live in separate neighborhoods – secular and national religious Jews, ultra-Orthodox Jews, and Arabs.Credit: Michal Fattal

Jerusalem dropped a level in the latest socioeconomic ranking of Israeli cities, published Wednesday by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

The figures rank 255 cities, towns and regional councils in Israel. Municipalities are ranked on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. The latest rankings are based on figures from 2013, while the previous rankings were based on 2008 data.

Jerusalem dropped from 4 to 3, while Tel Aviv suburbs Rishon Letzion and Petah Tikva both increased from 6 to 7.

The rest of the country’s large cities – those with 200,000 residents or more – were unchanged. Tel Aviv was given a score of 8; Haifa, 7; and Ashdod, 5.

Only two towns received the top ranking, 10 – Kfar Shmaryahu and Savion. Omer, which had previously been ranked 10, dropped to 9, placing it alongside Lahavim, Kochav Yair, Kfar Vradim, Ramat Hasharon, Shoham, Gderot and Meitar. No Arab or ultra-Orthodox towns made this ranking.

At the bottom of the list was the regional council Neve Midbar, which includes recognized and unrecognized Bedouin communities in the Negev. Other communities ranked 1, the lowest score, include two ultra-Orthodox towns – Modi’in Ilit, Beitar Ilit – and several Arab towns, including Segev Shalom, Tel Sheva, Arara, Hura, Al-Qaddum, Kseifa, Lakiya and Rahat.

The ranking is based on factors including socioeconomic status, education level, income, average number of cars per household, and average number of people per household.

Jerusalem, home to 828,000 residents, is Israel’s largest city. Tel Aviv-Jaffa is home to 418,000 residents, while Haifa has 272,000, Rishon Letzion has 237,000, Petah Tikva has 218,000 and Ashdod has 216,000 residents.

Jerusalem is home to three distinct communities, which generally live in separate neighborhoods – secular and national religious Jews, ultra-Orthodox Jews, and Arabs.

These three communities also have very different socioeconomic statistics. Thus the ranking of 3 is not an accurate reflection of life in the city. Secular and national-religious Jews in Jerusalem have one of the country’s highest rates of high school matriculation and Israel Defense Forces induction.

However, the Central Bureau of Statistics ignores this for political reasons, preferring to gloss over the vast differences among the city’s populations, in order to present East (mainly Arab) and West (Jewish) Jerusalem as Israel’s united capital.

The drop in Jerusalem’s economic rank means that families with children in after-school care will start paying lower rates since the government will be required to fund such programs.

The city of Jerusalem stated in response to the CBS data that it didn’t take socioeconomic rankings to know that Jerusalem is in need of significant government funding.

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