Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Zeev Elkin (Likud) opened the 2018 Globes conference this morning, which was held for the first time in Jerusalem with the support of Elkin's ministry.
Elkin argued that Jerusalem is the ideal venue for the annual economic conference, which was been held in previous years in Tel Aviv. The minister explained that the demographic changes in Jerusalem today exemplify broad demographic trends that will be reshaping the country over the next few decades.
"Whoever compares the data regarding the number of first graders in Jerusalem to the rest of Israel finds that there is a great similarity between the data,” said Elkin. “The percentage of haredim is increasing, and in a few years the percentage of [Jerusalem residents] who are religious will reach almost 50 percent.
"This is a figure that directly affects the economy, and we must prepare for it in terms of participation in the labor force, which according to the data has declined, in terms of understanding the consumer culture that will change, and of course in the regulatory sense. The Supermarket Law is a good example of this," Elkin noted.
Minister Elkin concluded by saying, "We must find a solution to the challenges Jerusalem provides us in order to be able to deal with the challenges in Israel as a whole, and this is exactly what we are doing at the Jerusalem Ministry. We are coping with these challenges and, among other things, invest considerable efforts and budgets in integrating the haredi population into the labor market. The time has come for the business community to internalize this and prepare wisely for it."
According to a May 2016 study by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2015, 63% of Jerusalem’s 870,000 residents were Jewish or members of other non-Arab demographic groups, compared to 37% of the population which identified as Arab.
Among the city’s non-Arab residents, 32% identified as haredi, 17% identified as religious, 13% as traditional-religious, 15% as traditional but not strictly religious, 21% as secular, and 2% as other or not Jewish. In 2015, a total of 62% of the city’s non-Arab residents identified as religious – amounting to just under 40% of the city’s total popular of 870,000.