Study Day about Decision 3790 for the Socioeconomic Development of East Jerusalem
| 2020 | 09:00
Study Day about Decision 3790 for the Socioeconomic Development of East Jerusalem
- In Hebrew
- Invites Only
- Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, Radak 20, Jerusalem
- In Hebrew
- Invites Only
- Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, Radak 20, Jerusalem
During an intensive day of discussions, several studies were presented which were undertaken by The Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research in 2019, on the topic of monitoring Government Decision 3790 for the socioeconomic development of East Jerusalem. Present were senior officials from the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage, who are responsible for implementing the government decision, as well as senior officials from the Jerusalem Municipality and various government ministries who are also involved in its implementation.
One of the main goals of the day was to determine suitable indicators to accompany implementation of the government decision, for the purpose of future data comparisons. Government Decision 3790 was passed in May 2018, and the first year of its implementation was 2019. Therefore, we relate to December 31, 2018 as the baseline for comparison.
The researchers at the Jerusalem Institute assembled indicators which provide an accurate picture of the situation at the end of 2018, with respect to different aspects of three indicator reports in the spheres of: employment and economy, education, planning and infrastructure. A discussion was held with the purpose of reaching a consensus among the participants about the starting point for the monitoring process, as well as the methods of data collection, the inventory of existing and missing data, and the considerations regarding the choice of indicators. In addition to these reports, which supply data, the index for earning capacity, as well as in-depth research about informal education in East Jerusalem, was presented.
Each year, for the duration of the implementation of the plan, up-to-date data will be collected, so that it will be possible to identify and delineate trends occurring in East Jerusalem during the five-year period.
Opening Session: The Data Challenge
Lior Schillat, Director General of the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research
The process of evaluating Government Decision 3790 begins with the designation of the values of the indicators for the purpose of future comparison. This takes place against a backdrop of significant gaps in knowledge and data with regard to the current state of affairs in East Jerusalem, where over the years government ministries and public bodies have had a hard time collecting data. For example, the 1967 census covered most East Jerusalem neighborhoods, but the residents of the Shu’afat refugee camp were not accounted for. Population tallies undertaken since then have not collected data at the same level of accuracy in East Jerusalem as in the rest of the city, and various surveys of the entire population of Israel are hard-pressed to create a reliable picture of the situation in East Jerusalem for a variety of reasons.
A good example of the gaps in data is reflected in the attempt to determine an indicator for the issue of unemployment and poverty in East Jerusalem. The figures from the ‘Poverty Report’ of the National Insurance Institute for 2018 show a significant decrease in the scope of poverty in East Jerusalem, as compared to previous years. The administrative data for that year, also point to a decrease in poverty levels, however the decrease reflected in that data is much less dramatic.
It appears that among other things, in 2018 the sample in the survey of East Jerusalem was half the size of the sample from 2017, so that it is highly likely that this led to deviations and a false representation of the population (See: Explanations of the National Insurance Institute Report: Page 14, in Hebrew). The missing information in the sample as well as the findings which diverge from what is known about this population, led to uncertainty at the National Insurance Institute about whether to include this data in the report. In the end it was decided that the data would be included, along with a reference to the reservations.
The crux of the matter, according to Schillat, is that data collection about East Jerusalem presents many challenges for the Israeli authorities, which also obviously means that it is harder to make informed decisions about the most appropriate policy to apply. The indicator reports, which were used as a basis for discussion, represent the widest, most consensual and accurate data that the Jerusalem Institute is able to present. These reports foster agreement about the basic data before the activities are implemented in the framework of Government Decision 3790, which enables the decision makers and the implementing bodies to monitor changes which may take place in East Jerusalem during the years when the plan is being executed. It also allows them to tailor their responses accordingly, as precisely as they can.
Employment and Economic Indicators
Nadav Caspi and Yamit Naftali
Nadav Caspi, an economist and advisor to The Jerusalem Institute, presented the selected indicators.
Employment of Women is Important but We Mustn’t Overlook the Men
The government decision set an objective to raise the level of participation in the workforce among Arab women in East Jerusalem to 75% of the rate of Arab women’s participation in the workforce in the entire country. According to Caspi, this objective is problematic: in 2018, the rate of women in East Jerusalem engaged in the workforce was 25%, while the rate of Arab women engaged in the workforce in the entire country was 40%. In other words, the basepoint of the objective that was determined, from which the government decision was to proceed, is 62.5%. It must be taken into consideration that any increase in the level of participation in the workforce of Arab women in Israel (and their participation is in a constant upward trend) also influences the ability to adhere to this objective, so that it is not only the efforts of the government in East Jerusalem which affect it. Furthermore, Caspi proposes:
“To keep an eye on the issue of women, but to make sure not to neglect the indicators which pertain to the men – because if they cease to work, our losses will outweigh our gains.”
With respect to the rate of participation of Arab men in the workforce – it is clear that it is dynamic and even in a downtrend trend, so it is essential that the employment data for men in East Jerusalem be monitored. Caspi says that based on the current structure of the economic and culture system in East Jerusalem, men’s work is of greater value to a household, even if only because women often work and earn less. Therefore, the research team recommends adding actionable objectives and indicators to be monitored, with regard to the level of participation of men in the workforce and unemployment rates.
In this context it was noted that the standing committee, which directs and monitors government activity in the framework of Decision 3790, is authorized to add objectives which do not appear in the original decision.
Arabs in East Jerusalem Spend 20% Less Per Household than Jews in Jerusalem, and than Arabs in the Country as a Whole
With respect to the economic objective that was determined – to increase household earnings – Caspi explains that in this case as well no clear objective was determined by the government. He recommends determining an explicit and measurable objective. Referring to poverty indices, some background data suggests that 77.5% of the families in East Jerusalem are below the poverty line. Moreover, Arabs constitute 38% of the residents of the city, but they make up more than half of those entitled to income support in Jerusalem.
Caspi believes that another objective of the government plan – to increase the municipality’s income from business property taxes by 20% – is too modest, observing that: The municipality’s income in this area is already increasing, and the objective has already been attained.
Representatives of the municipality who participated in the discussion noted that for the sake of accuracy, the positive data should be compared to the data for actual collection (execution data as opposed to anticipated income), and also recommended ascertaining whether the objective was achieved, even when considering the natural growth of the property taxes. It is also necessary to be exact and to determine whether the Atarot Industrial Area, which is included in the statistical area of Kafr ‘Aqb, is included or excluded from the business property data that is monitored.
“What Difference does it Make Whether You Measure Productivity? In Any Case There’s Lots of “Under the Table” Work in East Jerusalem”
In response to a question from the audience with reference to “work under the table” in East Jerusalem, Caspi said:
We know that there is a lot of work for cash in the Israeli economy in general. There is no way to confirm or deny the stereotype that in East Jerusalem there is more work for cash than there is in the general population. We should remember that well-established populations have a greater interest in working “under the table.” This is because they pay higher taxes than weaker sectors do. In general, the issue of working and not declaring income and such stereotypes do not only characterize Israel, but are part of a global discussion, where they are also problematic with respect to evaluation and research.
The Earning Capacity Index
Netta Porzycki and Dr. Sarit Bensimhon-Peleg
Dr. Sarit Bensimhon-Peleg opened the session and explained that the government decision presents several economic goals, but other than the name of plan, there is no defined overarching goal. She added that as the accompanying research team, the role of the Institute is to devise a model that will help monitor the progress of the realization of the goals of the plan, and therefore an indicator was chosen which is guided by an economic compass, but also touches on the spheres of the individual and answers the question: What happens to the individual in East Jerusalem when perceived through an economic prism? In order to conduct the research, the team studies the Central Bureau of Statistics data pertaining to individuals.
Netta Porzycki presented the model: “The Earning Capacity Index” and the research process that has led to its development so far: The government decision was intended to increase the ability of East Jerusalem residents to integrate into Israeli society and the Israeli economy and thus to strengthen the economic and social resilience of the capital as a whole. The research question is: What influences the ability to integrate and narrow gaps, and to what extent?
Integration and Income: Hebrew Level, Inter-Generational Mobility, and Gender Gaps
Porzycki explained that reports from East Jerusalem residents themselves reveal that many feel that their level of Hebrew is low and that this adversely affects their ability to integrate into the workforce. Conversely, the birthrate is declining, a known indicator that is related to integration in the workforce. The employment and education levels are also rising, and despite this the incomes in East Jerusalem are very low. It is necessary to examine which factors influence the income of an East Jerusalem resident, in order to understand how the income level can be raised.
Oren Heller – a researcher in the field of Intergenerational Mobility in Israel, examined the issue of mobility in East Jerusalem, where the intent was to check the relationship between the income level of parents and that of their children. His research shows that an Israeli raised in a family in which the income is in the 25th percentile, is expected to be in the 45th percentile for salary, when he/she reaches adulthood, while someone raised in the same percentile in East Jerusalem is likely to climb only to the 32nd percentile, while an East Jerusalem woman is expected to descend to the 19th percentile. This is an intriguing result which may signify that the economic gaps in East Jerusalem stem from the economic situation of the previous generation. Within the framework of this study the team at the Institute realized that the index which examines intergenerational mobility, however interesting it may be, has its limitations. While it is helpful to consider, it is difficult to extrapolate policy from it, which is why the team created a new research indicator: the Earning Capacity Index.
The Earning Capacity Index: Simple to Quantify and Easily Monitored
The Earning Capacity Index is a regression analysis model, in which the chosen dependent variable is the individual’s wage. We chose wage because it is an indicator that can reflect economic improvement and an improvement in quality of life. It is also a quantitative index that is easy to calculate. The advantage of this index is that an infinite number of variables can be included and calculated in a way that will clarify for policy makers where and how much it’s most worthwhile to invest, so that individual salaries will rise. The model facilitates comparison between Jerusalem Arabs and Arabs in the rest of country or the general population.
The index includes recognized personal variables that influence income levels from research literature, alongside unique variables for residents of East Jerusalem. The model enables the calculation of the beta variable, the weight coefficients of the various factors, which indicate how much each factor influences salary. The weight coefficients which will be calculated during the course of the research will determine the prioritizing of planning and implementation of various policy tools in East Jerusalem. Avner Saadon, director of the Department for Strategic Planning at the Jerusalem Municipality, welcomed the proposed index, saying, “The ability to identify the appropriate beta variables is an optimistic key point, which may determine the policy efforts in an accurate direction.”
Infrastructure and Planning Indicators
The government decision set objectives in the infrastructure and planning sphere for planning and registering land, transportation, and improvement of public service:
Planning and Registering Land
It is well-known that wide areas of land in East Jerusalem are not registered. In the coming years, with the monitoring of the implementation of the government decision, it will be possible to see how much of the area is registered at the official land registrar during the period of the plan’s implementation.
Land Zoned for Employment
Data about the areas zoned for employment are gleaned from two sources: data from plans at various stages of the approval process, and data from existing employment centers (data about non-residential municipal property taxes). A review of the numbers reveals which areas are the future / potential employment areas in East Jerusalem, which will be established when the city’s building plans are inaugurated. It is important to note that plans which have been submitted for public review are at a more advanced stage than others. From this one can learn in which of the planned areas work is likely to be executed in the foreseeable future. With respect to recently approved plans – researchers at the Institute are currently examining them, and expect that in the coming year it will be clear which plans were approved, begun, and implemented.
A baseline of travel time – via private vehicle or public transport – from the main East Jerusalem neighborhoods to central commercial and employment areas in West Jerusalem is provided in the presentation (in Hebrew). The data is based on an evaluation of several days and times, using Google Maps. They are not completely accurate, but they are helpful in providing a picture of the current situation. As transportation plans in East Jerusalem progress in general, and specifically plans for public transport, changes are anticipated in the duration of the journeys, and periodic evaluation of the data from the same source will indicate changing trends, should they occur. For example, the neighborhoods of Jabal Mukabar and Talpiot are next to each other, but the current duration of the journey from one to the other via public transport is 34 minutes. The planned route between the two neighborhoods is expected to cut the current duration of the journey by half. As stated, annual evaluation will facilitate an understanding as to whether the various employment centers become more accessible following the transportation changes slated for the area. The research team requested the addition of several areas, and the creation of an accessibility index, to normalize the employment centers vis a vis the sizes of the neighborhoods.
Duration of Journeys – Main Conclusions
- The longest journeys are those to Ein Kerem Hospital-Hadassah Medical Center and the Atarot Industrial Zone. The data show that the Atarot Industrial Zone is not connected to the neighborhoods in the south of the city, as well as how difficult it is to reach that hospital from all East Jerusalem neighborhoods. However, it is important to note that the solution is underway, as the Red Line of the Light Rail is already being extended, and it will significantly reduce the duration of the journey to the hospital from the northern neighborhoods, especially Bet Hanina and Shu’afat, and also to the central neighborhoods – such as Sheih Jarrah.
- The journeys from Kafr ‘Aqb are the longest, due to the isolated location of the neighborhood.
- For most of the destinations examined, the journey by private vehicle was shorter than that via public transport (on average, the journey by public transport was nine minutes longer).
Public Transport Opportunities
Public transport in Jerusalem operates mostly on a north-south axis, and there is a lack of lines operating from east to west. The Light Rail Train (LRT) runs on an east-west axis and has caused a revolutionary change in public transport in Jerusalem. This should be noted and the potential should continue to be mined with regard to east-west routes, which can transform the current reality in relatively simple ways.
Researchers at the Institute had planned to monitor implementation of the use of the Rav-Kav transportation smart card arrangement – the establishment of charging points, data about transfers among the LRT and bus lines, and more. However, the implementation was halted and the data became irrelevant, so the researchers are waiting until implementation is renewed, in the hope that a trend showing progress will be revealed.
The presentation depicts the current situation, in which public area per capita in the Jewish neighborhoods is twice that which pertains in the Arab neighborhoods. Furthermore, even in the public spaces which are fulfilling their designated purpose, there is sometimes underutilization of the area (similar to the situation in West Jerusalem and in Israel in general), such as construction of public buildings on only one floor, or on an open lot within a public plot. In certain neighborhoods there is very little, if any, public space – one example is the Shu’afat refugee camp.
In East Jerusalem, the streets are swept 2.1 days a week, while the average in West Jerusalem is 2.9 times a week. The maps depict the street-sweeping in adjacent Jewish and Arab neighborhoods. Thus, for example, while in neighborhoods such as Gonenim and Pisgat Ze’ev, both small and large streets are swept, in Bet Hanina for example, only the main junctions are swept.
Complaints to the Municipal Call-Center
A review of the data about calls to the 106 call-center shows that the more economically established the neighborhood, the more complaints about it are received.
A comparison between calls from the west of the city and those from the east shows that for every 10,000 residents in Jewish neighborhoods there are 12.5 complaints per day, while there are only 2.5 daily complaints for every 10,000 residents in Arab neighborhoods. It is clear that this is related to issues about exercising one’s rights, confidence in the system and willingness to solve problems, as well as about technical difficulties regarding street names, etc. It was suggested the number of calls in relation to the number of residents be calculated, so as to monitor the Service Level Agreement (SLA) or how long it takes to deal with an issue once it is called in.
Mordechai Benita, Director General of the Ministry for Jerusalem and Heritage, opened the session. The following is a summary of his remarks:
The Institute’s studies are a very important tool which helps with the daily work of the ministry. I have learned to quote The Jerusalem Institute and say that Jerusalem is the largest Haredi and the largest Arab city in the country. The issue of education is very important and we devote a great amount of time and energy to discussions of this subject. We hope that parents in East Jerusalem will want to send their children to the schools which teach the Israeli curriculum, and that they will consider the education there to be good education which will grant their children prospects. This is not a political issue, and in the end, parents choose what they believe to be best for their children.
Many different bodies are involved in education in East Jerusalem. The sources are diverse and not always uniform: The Jerusalem Education Authority, the Ministry of Education, the Central Bureau of Statistics, and more.
Fertility Data – Revealing a Dramatic Phenomenon in the Education System
It is important to begin with fertility data, which are significant for the education system: the fertility index presents the number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime. The number of children per individual Arab women in Jerusalem and individual Arab women in Israel is decreasing, and stands today at three children per woman. This issue creates a situation in which the age groups of school children don’t change much: the number of children enrolled each year is basically stable, at 8,000. For the education system, this is a dramatic phenomenon: if the various age groups don’t increase from year to year, the government and municipality need not be perpetually “chasing their own tails” to keep up with the population growth. In that way the administrative situation changes completely – with respect to issues like provision of services, systems management, building classrooms, training teachers and more.
School Dropouts in East Jerusalem
A survey of the data for each separate year reveals the gap between children who are within known educational frameworks as compared to the actual number of children in the population. For example, a review of data for grade one in the Israeli system shows a difference of about 2,000 children between the pupils’ numbers in that age group in East Jerusalem and the number of pupils enrolled in the known educational frameworks for that year. From this difference in numbers we posit that the “missing” children are attending private institutions, and that some may even be outside the system. Between grades two and eight, the gap between the number of pupils enrolled in known schools and the number of pupils in their age group in the population decreases, and in ninth grade there is a sharp increase and widening of the gaps. The data tell us that we can assume that, at least with respect to this information, in a large number of cases, the explanation for this issue is the phenomenon of dropouts. At the same time, we see that the number of pupils who reach grade eleven remained stable in grade twelve, and so we learn that on the whole, most of the pupils who reach grade eleven will complete their high school studies, and this conclusion is reinforced by the dropout statistics which follow.
Formal and Informal Schools
The higher the age levels, the more pupils there are enrolled in formal schools in East Jerusalem. This is the anticipated trend based on the data for the past two five-year periods. Zion Regev, director of the Five Year Plan for Education in East Jerusalem at the Jerusalem Education Authority, noted that one of the reasons for this is that in recent years there has been accelerated building of classrooms in East Jerusalem, and five new formal schools are being built every year. Dr. David Koren, director of the Ministry of Education’s Jerusalem District Five Year Plan for Education in East Jerusalem, argued that in recent years the quality of the formal schools has increased and improved as opposed to schools whose status is recognized but informal, alongside the public’s perception of studies in the formal school system. Ayman Jabara, former principal of the Bet Zafafa School and currently supervisor of the East Jerusalem Authorities for the Jerusalem district of the Ministry of Education, claimed that there is a different central reason for this trend: For elementary school, East Jerusalem parents send their children to the recognized but informal schools because they are considered stricter and thus schools which provide a rich knowledge of Arabic and build a stronger identity, among other things because they teach the tawjihi (Palestinian) curriculum, and at later stages they transfer them to the formal system for pragmatic reasons, related to the desire to make it easier for their children to integrate into the Israeli workforce.
One of the objectives determined by the government decision is to increase the number of pupils eligible for a technological matriculation certificate from eleven percent to thirty-three percent. The research team at the Institute did not find data indicating that eleven percent of pupils were eligible for the year when the decision was passed, but rather that there was twelve percent participation in technological studies. The recommendation is that the standing committee should clarify the original data and the objective that was determined. Representatives of the Ministry for Jerusalem and Heritage commented that there is a lack of objectives regarding special education, which is not related to in the government decision, and requested that the team at the Institute provide indicators for that sector, as a basis for the designation of objectives.
Informal Education in East Jerusalem
Elisheva Milekovsky and Maliha Zugair
Education is perceived as “the great equalizer,” and a good education system can contribute to true narrowing of gaps. But education isn’t only the formal framework of studies. A fundamental component is informal education. In recent decades the international and the Israeli establishment have given informal education high priority as a way to narrow gaps and help with social mobility. In Israel the youth organizations are one of the ultimate tools of informal education. This tool barely existed in East Jerusalem until recently, and is only now starting to be utilized.
The Research Goal
The goal of this study is to understand the role and power of informal education in narrowing social and economic gaps, and how it can be more effective, especially given the numerous resources devoted to it in the framework of the government decision.
The methodology consists of a survey of the professional literature and studies about the influences of informal education around the world, as well as interviews and focus groups with professional bodies with expertise in this sector, and with parents in East Jerusalem.
What is Informal Education?
Informal education is a diverse field that is difficult to define. It is often perceived as supplementary to formal education. It is an educational tool which can achieve social and educational goals which formal education fails to achieve. It is situated outside the official frameworks, but is not entirely sporadic or spontaneous. It is flexible and dynamic education which is tailored to the needs of the participants and facilitates a space for trial and error. Informal education is relevant at every age, including among the elderly, although currently, according to the government decision, its implementation in East Jerusalem mainly focuses on school-age children (and to some extent on preschoolers). Many organizations in Israel and abroad, such as the UN, the EU, the Chief Scientist of the Education Ministry and more, study the sector and define it as an area with high potential to create social mobility and narrow gaps.
Advantages of Informal Education
Research shows that informal education has a wide range of influences: It reduces negative behaviors, empowers individuals and communities, improves educational achievements and strengthens skills which are relevant for the workforce. As a rule, it may be said that informal education fosters resilience among its participants, as well as important skills and also creates social capital (by widening the social network). For informal education to achieve the effect attributed to it in research, it is important to include the following components: variety and creativity, freedom of choice, role models, and more.
It is important to examine the operating plans in the framework of the government decision according to the preceding parameters. The plans that do not include any of the components are not expected to be effective and an attempt should be made to integrate some of the components into them, or to substitute them for other plans.
Furthermore, when operating informal education frameworks one should be guided by several principles of optimal implementation, such as maintaining a development process over time / as the child grows up and a holistic vision of the pupil. When the ‘Ogen’ (anchor) coordinators of the plan, who connect between the formal and informal systems, are able to function as a focal point, these principles may be applied.
Subsequent to the government decision, one can see that there are more frameworks, more relevant institutional bodies, increased budgets, and more connections among systems. At the same time, there are still many deficiencies. Following conversations with parents of pupils in East Jerusalem it is clear that there are significant obstacles to promoting the sector, such as structural challenges (such as a lack of infrastructures) and content challenges (lack of awareness, lack of trust).
Recommendations to Promote Informal Education in East Jerusalem
- Deepen the understanding of the unique needs and characteristics of the target population
- Include the target population in the process
- Create a holistic vision of the pupil over time / as the child grows up
- Create an appropriate physical infrastructure
- Train the necessary staff