Jerusalem loses 6,000 residents per year
Central Bureau of Statistics data shows despite drop, Jerusalem remains Israel's largest city, with over 730,000 residents. Sixty-four percent of residents are Jews, as opposed to 32 percent Muslims. In special Knesset meeting, prime minister says will work to strengthen capital
Jerusalem loses some 6,000 residents a year, a Central Bureau of Statistics report revealed on Monday.
In 2006, some 10,900 people moved to the capital, while the number of Jerusalemites moving out was estimated at 17,300, half of whom were aged 20-34.
According to the data, Jerusalem is the largest city in Israel, both in terms of area, with a 31,000 acre jurisdiction, and population, with 732,100 residents.
At the end of 2006, 469,400 (some 64 percent) of the capital's residents were Jews, 239,100 (32 percent) were Muslims, 14,700 (2 percent) were Christians and 8,700 (about 1 percent) were not classified by religion.
In 1948, Jerusalem's population numbered 83,984. The city became Israel's largest in 1975, mainly due to high natural reproduction rates.
After the unification of east and west Jerusalem in 1967, some 66,000 east Jerusalemites were added to the city's population and comprised 20 percent of it. Some 53,800 of these were Muslims.
The main city which Jerusalemites moved to in the past year was Tel Aviv, which received some 1,660 ex-Jerusalem residents. Some 1,450 went to Ma'aleh Adumim, and some 1,400 left for Bet Shemesh.
The main cities from which residents moved to Jerusalem are Tel Aviv (some 800 residents), Bnei Brak (some 700 residents) and Bet Shemesh (some 650 residents).
The unemployment rate in the capital in 2006 reached 9.4 percent, as opposed to the national average of 8.4 percent.
Knesset marks Jerusalem Day
The Knesset held a special session Monday marking 40 years since Jerusalem's reunification. The American and EU ambassadors did not attend the event, because their countries do not recognize Jerusalem's reunification, and consider east Jerusalem occupied territory.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert opened the meeting by saying that he was committed to strengthening the capital.
"We, who have been blessed with such a capital, should ask ourselves what should we do for this city. We want to see a city that resolves disputes instead of creating ones. A city that is no longer the focus of bloodshed, but of understating and agreement," the prime minister stated.
"There is still much to be done… there is still time to achieve everything. We too want one Jerusalem, a Jerusalem that belongs to its residents, the Jews and the Muslims, the Christians and the Armenians. A Jerusalem that does not distinguish between colors, religions and social status," he concluded.