According to a study published, on Thursday, in the Israeli online daily Haaretz, more ore than half of the Israelis are willing to give up East Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods and to effectively re-divide the city as part of a genuine peace agreement.
Yet, the overwhelming majority which is 75 percent of those willing to make these concessions do not believe in the possibility of achieving a genuine peace with the Palestinians.
Only a small percentage are willing, even as part of a genuine peace agreement, to give up the Old City, the Western Wall and Al Aqsa Mosque area.
These figures were derived from a comprehensive public opinion poll on Jerusalem, carried out by an Israeli Research Institute for the Jerusalem Studies (JIIS).
Researchers of JIIS created demographic, economic, social and security indexes to study the city’s current situation. Most of the indexes point to negative trends.
The research will be presented next week at the Herzliya Conference on the Balance of Israel’s National Security.
According to the research, the willingness to concede Jerusalemite Arab neighborhoods came in light of the huge majority (95.3 percent) of Israeli respondents’ belief that it is very important to have a significant Jewish majority in Jerusalem.
The detailed indexes of the research showed that 63 percent of the adult Israeli population is willing to make concessions in Jerusalem as part of a genuine peace agreement. Some 3.2 percent are willing to give up the Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives and the Western Wall; and 5.4 percent are willing to give up the Arab neighborhoods, the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and the Mount of Olives, but not the Wall.
More than half the respondents, 54.4 percent, would give up the East Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods alone, while 36 percent are unwilling to make any territorial concessions in Jerusalem, including the Arab neighborhoods.
The research also showed that, Israelis whose religious self-definition was "traditional" or "secular" were significantly more likely to agree to concessions than those who defined themselves as religious or ultra-Orthodox.
The indexes create the following pessimistic picture of Jerusalem:
Israel claims that when the city was captured in June 1967, the city was 75 percent Jewish. That figure has shrunk to 66 percent. Israeli officials believe that the "Jewish majority will drop to 58% by 2020", and in 2030 the population will be evenly divided Arabs and Israelis.
Migration Index – The negative migration balance of the city is increasing. Over the past 20 years, Jerusalem has lost more than 100,000 Israelis who moved to other areas, according to the study.
Economic Indexes – Workforce participation is among the lowest in the country, due to the scant numbers of ultra-Orthodox men and Arab women who work outside their homes.
More than half of the city’s working residents are employed in service industries, where average salaries are low. Per-capita income is the lowest among the country’s major cities, which is reflected in the buying power, the city’s commercial sector and the situation of the municipality.
Jerusalem is the poorest of Israel’s large cities, the study adds, and one-third of its families are below poverty line. More than 53 percent of the city’s children are defined as poor, and the city’s Arab population is considerably poorer than the Jewish population.
Personal Security Index – according to this index since the outbreak of the second Intifada, in October 2000, there have been 635 suicide bombings in the city, in which 1,643 people were injured and 211 were killed. (The latter figure represents 20 percent of all Intifada deaths over the past five years.) Although tourism in the city has improved recently, still it remains low in comparison with the 1990s.