Dr. Maya Choshen

“If there are still places where collective goals are still emphasized rather than only egotistic-individualism, then those are among our youth movements” (Aharon Yadlin, 1993). Tirza Goldstein in her 2007 research into the leisure-time activities of young adults in Jerusalem has pointed to a clear link between being a member of a youth movement and active and participatory citizenship and volunteering. In 2010, there were eleven Jewish youth movements operating in Jerusalem – 4 secular movements (Hamachanot Ha’olim, Hashomer Hatzair, Hano’ar Ha’oved Vehalomed, the Scouts), 1 conservative youth movement (Noam), 2 3 National-Religious movements (Bnei Akiva, Ezra and Ariel) and 4 3 Ultra-Orthodox movements (Bnot Batya, Degel Yerushalayim, and Heichalei Oneg and Ezra). After a short dip in the number of active members experienced between 2007 and 2008, the number of youth movement members steadily grew from 32,400 in 2008, to 34,300 in 2009, to its current peak at 37,200 in 2010. Overall, between the years 2008 and 2010, the number of members in Jerusalem’s youth movements saw a 15% increase: the secular youth movements saw the largest increase (20%), and they were closely followed by the Ultra-Orthodox movements (a 1917% increase) and the conservative movement, Noam (a 13% increase). The National-Religious movements, which experienced a 2.53% decrease in membership rates between the years 2008 and 2009 followed by a 4% increase between the years 2009 and 2010, maintained their size overall between the years 2008 and 2010. The National-Religious youth movements were the last to recover from their drop in membership rates.

All of the data brought in this column is taken from data compiled by the Department of Community Services in the Jerusalem Municipality. The Jerusalem Municipality uses the data on the number of members in each youth movement to allocate funds proportionally among the different youth movements. In the early 2000’s, the Jerusalem Municipality developed a system for distributing funds on the basis of detailed reports submitted directly by the youth movements and subject to auditing by the Department of Community Services.