Selected Data on the Occasion of Jerusalem Day 2012

Based on a report by the Central Bureau of Statistics

Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, is the largest city in the country – the largest in area (about 48.4 sq. miles) and the largest in population. In 1948 the population of Jerusalem was 82,900. By the end of 2011, Jerusalem had 801,000 residents, more than 10% of the total population of the state. According to the Ministry of the Interior, out of the total population in the city, 497,000 were Jewish (62%), 281,000 were Muslim (35%) and 14,000 were Christian (2%), with 9,000 residents not affiliated with any religion (1%).

Sources of population growth

  • In 2011 the population of Jerusalem grew by 14,500 residents. This growth stemmed mainly from the high natural increase (number of births minus number of deaths), which added about 19,000 people to the city’s population. Another 3,000 approximately were added as a result of international emigration – new immigrants, immigrant citizens[1], family unification and emigration balance of Israelis (leaving and returning of Israelis who resided abroad for more than a year).
  • The internal emigration balance in Jerusalem continued to be negative, reducing growth by about 7,500 people. In 2011 the situation in Jerusalem was similar to that of other big cities in Israel such as Tel Aviv-Yafo, Rishon Lezion, and Ashdod, where the main source of growth is natural increase and the internal emigration balance is negative.

Households and families

  • Jerusalem has about 192,000 households, about 9% of all households in the country. The average household in Jerusalem numbers four persons (compared to the national average of 3.4), more than the average in the other big cities: Ashdod (3.3), Rishon Lezion and Petah Tikva (3.1), Haifa (2.5) and Tel Aviv (2.2).

Students in Jerusalem

  • In the academic year 2010/11, 36.5 thousand students studied in all of the institutions of higher learning in Jerusalem: 20,400 at Hebrew University, 10,800 at seven academic colleges, and 5,300 at five teachers’ colleges.
  • The students studying in Jerusalem in 2010/11 constituted 14.5% of the total number of students in the country (not including those studying at the Open University).

Level of satisfaction

  • 55 % of Jerusalem residents are very satisfied with their lives (50% of the Jews and 62% of the non-Jews), compared to 36% of residents in the rest of Israel.
  • Residents of Jerusalem are more optimistic than other Israelis – more of them think their lives will improve in the future (56% compared to 52%, respectively).
  • 63% of Jerusalem residents are satisfied or very satisfied with their economic situation, compared to 59% of the rest of the population.
  • 41% of Jerusalem residents are very satisfied with their relations with their neighbors, compared to 32% in the rest of the country.

[1] Children of Israelis living abroad who come to Israel with the intent to settle.

Communicated by MFA Spokesperson’s Bureau

The agricultural exhibition Agritech 2012 will take place in Tel Aviv on 15-17 May. Prominent figures from abroad will be among the thousands expected to visit the exhibition, which showcases innovations, developments and inventions in the fields of agriculture and related technologies.

Israel is a world leader in agro-technology. A big reason for this is the country’s shortage of water and arable land, which has led to the development of methods, technologies and products that address these challenges.

A significant proportion of scientific research in Israel focuses on agro-technology, providing the foundation for start-up companies in this field.

Agritech 2012 offers a window through which the Israeli agro-technology industry may be viewed close up. This is the 18th Agritech exhibition, which is held every three years. The main subjects for this year’s exhibition include irrigation, water management, greenhouses, and the dairy industry. For the first time, one of the pavilions is dedicated to agricultural innovation and will display Israeli innovations and developments in the field.

Agritech has become a tradition for farmers as well as decision-makers in the field of agriculture. At the last Agritech exhibition, held in 2009, about 4,200 visitors came from all over the world.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which sees as one of its primary goals the promotion of Israel’s economy through its envoys abroad and its staff at the home office, plays a major part in Agritech 2012. In keeping with its slogan, “diplomacy in the service of the Israeli economy”, the Foreign Ministry takes care of the foreign VIP visitors, including a prime minister, ministers of agriculture, and other government ministers whose jobs are connected to agriculture in some way.

During the exhibition, MASHAV will convene a forum for visiting ministers titled, “Global challenges in agriculture”. In addition, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon will represent the Foreign Ministry at the opening ceremony, which will take place at the Tel Aviv Trade Fairs and Convention Center on Tuesday morning, 15 May, and will meet with senior officials from abroad who have come to see the exhibition.

Exhibition website:



The father of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Professor Ben-Zion Netanyahu, passed away early this morning (Monday, April 3rd).

Ben-Zion Netanyahu, 102, died at home. Last night, his son, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu managed to visit him one last time.

Ben-Zion Netanyahu was born in Warsaw on March 25th, 1910 named Ben-Zion Mileikowsky. In 1920, he and his family immigrated to the Land of Israel. In 1944, he married Tzila, whom he had met during his studies in the Land of Israel. Ben-Zion Netanyahu had three sons – the late Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, who fell during Operation Yonatan at Entebbe; Benjamin, the Prime Minister of Israel; and Ido, a doctor, author and playwright.

Prof. Netanyahu was among the great historians of the Jewish People. In his research, he focused on the history of the medieval Spanish Jewish community and the history of Zionism. Among his books are a biography of Don Isaac Abravanel, a history of the Spanish Marranos and his major work, ‘The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain’, which received global acclaim. He also authored ‘The Founding Fathers of Zionism’ about the lives of the founders of political Zionism – Leon Pinsker, Theodor Herzl, Max Nordau, Israel Zangwill and Zeev Jabotinsky.

Prof. Netanyahu was the editor-in-chief of the Hebrew Encyclopedia for over a decade. He served as Professor of Jewish Studies at various US universities and concluded his academic career as Professor emeritus at Cornell University.

From his days as a student in Jerusalem, he was involved in public Zionist activities. He was a supporter of Zeev Jabotinsky and edited a newspaper that also featured Prof. Joseph Klausner and poet Uri Tzvi Greenberg on its staff.

He defended those who were accused of Chaim Arlozorov’s murder and, to this end, persuaded his father, Rabbi Natan Mileikowsky, to enlist the support of Rabbi Avraham Isaac Hacohen Kook to defend the accused. Rabbi Kook later delivered a moving eulogy for Rabbi Mileikovsky.

In 1939, Ben-Zion Netanyahu traveled to London and persuaded Jabotinsky to relocate to the US out of the view that the latter would be the rising power in the world and that from there it would be possible to mobilize support for the Jewish state. Jabotinsky died shortly after their arrival in the US; Netanyahu continued to raise support for the Jewish state throughout the war and afterward.

In this context, he met with many US Jewish leaders of the period, as well as with Senators, Congressmen, authors, poets and leaders, including Dean Acheson and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Upon the establishment of the State, he returned from the US and moved with his young family to Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood. He dedicated himself to his research, in which he was assisted by his wife Tzila, a native of Petah Tikva who was his life’s partner for over 50 years.

In 1952, the Netanyahu family moved to its home a 4 Haportzim Street, where he passed away early this morning.

The State of Israel is nothing short of a true miracle: in her 64 years, Israel has achieved more than any other nation on earth, a miracle that was created by a mosaic of different groups.

A wise man once said that Israel is the only country in the world that was founded on a dream: each group had its own — one was hoping to recreate an Eastern European shtetl, another was dreaming of an egalitarian kibbutz; one aspired for an urban Western style of bourgeoisie, and the other was eying the Orient. At times, our various dreams and aspirations collided.

However, Israel’s incredible success proves that much can be achieved in spite of these profound differences, and some would argue because of them. Moreover, the sense of a shared destiny hovered above and made it all possible.

In her 64 years, Israel has been characterized first and foremost by her love of life, and there is nothing more symbolic of life than water, embodying its source and essence. While coping with the water scarcity at home, Israel has become over the years a global leader in the fields of water desalination, management and conservation. Hence, Israel is proud to lead the world in the rate of water re-utilization (76 percent).

Water is also a wonderful example of what can be achieved together: as a rare resource not only in Israel, but in the Middle East as a whole, it constitutes an opportunity for all the peoples of the region to come together and join hands in the struggle to create a better future for our children. It is in this moment, when we are reminded of our basic needs of survival, that we have the opportunity of connecting with each other on the most human level.

Water is only one case in point of what Israel has become over the years: an inspirational source of creative energy, where dreams come true.

Whether in the field of medicine, or theater, modern dance, bird migration, high-tech, bio-technology or filmmaking, nano-technology, religious studies, green energy or emergency preparedness — Israel is a major player, with her strongest skill of all: the human resource and ingenuity.

Israel’s abilities have turned her into a true light unto the nations, bettering the lives of each and every one of us.

Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day (April 25 this year), is a day in which we can take a moment in our busy lives to marvel at this modern day miracle: Israel’s creative spirit, energy and endurance.

On Independence Day itself, the parks of Jerusalem and the beaches of Tel Aviv are filled with picnics and barbeques and soaring Israeli flags, full of music and dancing, as the nation comes together to celebrate as one big family and community.

Just like in Israel, many communities in New York and all over the United States join together in these celebrations.

New York, as the world’s largest Jewish city, is a special place in this regard as it is home to the largest annual show of support for Israel worldwide: the Celebrate Israel Parade.

On June 3, masses of supporters from the tri-state region and beyond will collectively show their love and unwavering dedication to Israel. It is a united effort put forth by all members of our extended community to come together as one, and show Israel our love and support. It is a unique day on our calendar where once a year we set aside our differences and agree on one major thing: Israel. This coming together is a testament to the strong bond between the Jewish community and the State of Israel.

This year’s creative theme, “Israel Branches Out,” is specifically fitting as it demonstrates just how diverse and large our community has become. When we come together, we become stronger and can better show the world Israel’s many strengths, contributions and accomplishments. The parade gives us a chance to show the positive impact Israel has had and continues to have on each and every one of us around the world, and this in itself is a reason for celebration.

Yom Ha’Atzmaut marks a unique moment in our history that joins us together as a people and as a nation, celebrating the most meaningful miracle of our modern history: the rebirth of an independent Jewish nation in our homeland. It is a realization of a dream and a prayer long sung in the hearts of our people.

Just as water connects people, Yom Ha’Atzmaut gives us the opportunity to come together as one family and tell the whole world: this is the State of Israel, it is there for you and me to celebrate, and we love her with all our hearts.

From ashes to resurrection, from destruction to sovereignty.

Chag atzmaut sameach.

Ambassador Ido Aharoni is consul general of the State of Israel in New York.

First appeared in The Jewish Week

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu”s Greeting to Diaspora Communities for Israel’s 64th Independence Day

Israel’s Independence Day is a time for us to consider what makes Israel truly unique.

Israel is unique in restoring sovereignty, and the capacity for self-defense, to a people who had been stateless and powerless for 2,000 years.

Israel is unique in ingathering to an ancestral homeland an exiled people who had been scattered around the globe.

Israel is unique in having become a global technological power despite the fact that we face threats faced by no other nation on earth.

Israel is unique in the Middle East for having a vibrant, liberal democracy where women are equal, minorities are free and where all are subject to the rule of law.

But Israel is unique in one other important way: we are unique in having such passionate friends, Jews and non-Jews alike, for whom the well-being, security and future of our country are so important. This passionate support, along with Israel’s strong army, free economy and dynamic society, is the pillar of our national strength.

And this Independence Day, I want to thank the tens of millions of friends of Israel throughout the world for their unwavering support for the one and only Jewish state.

Sincerely,Benjamin Netanyahu

Jerusalem, Israel


מח’ מידע והפקה – אגף תקשורת


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PM Netanyahu Meets with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today (Monday), 2.4.12, in his Jerusalem office, met with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is visiting Israel with his family. Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed Gov. Christie to Israel and said, “You know there are so many similarities between New Jersey and Israel. We’re roughly the same size. We’re roughly the same population. I know your voters have better neighbors. Other than that, there are several similarities and I look forward to discussing how we can increase the cooperation.” Gov. Christie told Prime Minister Netanyahu, “This is my first visit abroad as Governor and there was never any question of where we would come first, so I’m glad we did.”

In response to Nicholas Kristof’s piece in the New York Times, we would like to stress that Israel is not interested in war. It never was and it never will be. It is, however, the obligation of any government to reserve the right to defend its citizens at any and all cost. Raise your hand if you want to live in a world that consists of a nuclear Middle East.

Raise your hand if you think the world will be safer with a state sponsor of terror being able to choose overnight whether to hand out nuclear bombs. Raise your hand if you think the West should return to a “Cold War” mentality and fear of nuclear war breaking out at a moment’s notice. Now, raise your hand if you think the world needs to do all it can to prevent this from happening.

Saying “all options must remain on the table” doesn’t mean force is your first option, but a realistic understanding that your last resort needs to be available under a worst case scenario. Israel, the United States and the international community must do everything in order to prevent this scenario from becoming a reality – a reality that begins with Iran going nuclear.

Israel has no desire to enter into armed conflict. But it is the obligation of any responsible government, and especially the international community, to prevent the annihilation of sovereign countries. As long as every tool remains a viable, publicly stated option, Iran will understand that it has no choice but to abandon their nuclear program. But if we continue to ignore Iran’s actions and motives, and instead focuses on Israel’s possible options, we only march one step closer to a nuclear Middle East. Not every call for action is a call to arms, but continued inaction is a path to catastrophe. Today, we can decide how tomorrow should look. Tomorrow, we might not have that luxury.

Response to UNHRC decision to establish a commission on settlements

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

The resolution by the Human Rights Council to establish a “Fact Finding Mission on the Influence of Settlements on Palestinians” is yet another surreal decision from the workshop of a Council that is instrumentalized as a tool to push for one-sided politicized moves instead of promoting human rights.

While all over the Middle East human rights are violated in an unprecedented scale, the HRC ridicules itself by dedicating its time and resources to establish a superfluous and extravagant body whose sole purpose is to satisfy the Palestinians’ whims and to harm future chances to reach an agreement through peaceful means. The Palestinians must understand that they can’t have it both ways: they can’t enjoy cooperation with Israel and at the same time initiate political clashes in international fora.

Turning to international bodies is a breach of concluded Israeli Palestinian agreements. Had the Palestinians wanted to solve the settlements issue, they would resume without delay direct and unconditional negotiations on all core issues within the framework of a comprehensive agreement. Their deliberate choice to foster confrontation and provocation rather than compromise and reconciliation is nothing but a destructive strategy that the international community should firmly reject.


Said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the Human Rights Council’s decision, “This is a hypocritical council with an automatic majority against Israel.  This council ought to be ashamed of itself. Until today, the council has made 91 decisions, 39 of which dealt with Israel, three with Syria and one with Iran. One only had to hear the Syrian representative speak today about human rights in order to understand how detached from reality the council is. Another proof of its detachment from reality came last week when it invited before it a representative of Hamas, an organization whose ideology is based on the murder of innocents.”

Last week, at the 6th World Water Forum, Israel’s Minister of Energy and Water, MK Uzi Landau held an important inter-governmental session on wastewater management. Israel is the world leader in wastewater management, with up to 80 percent of waste being recycled, primarily used for agricultural purposes. Israel presented its findings and innovative technologies at the conference, challenging the 179 other countries in attendance to double their sewage treatment by 2025.

The World Water Forum is held every 3 years since 1997, its goal is to mobilize “creativity, innovation, competence and know-how in favour of water. It gathers all stakeholders around today’s local, regional and global issues that cannot be undertaken without all stakeholders into a common framework of goals and concrete targets to reach.”

Said Minister Landau ahead of the conference, “We will offer Israeli expertise toward improving the water markets of countries around the world, with the goal of opening more and more doors for Israeli companies to create relationships with foreign companies and implement international projects.”

In addition, Israel offered to help Gaza build a desalination plant in Gaza to provide freshwater for its residents. “Our expertise is available to all of our friends, including some of those who don’t accept us there, which is the Palestinians. We would like to see their projects going on” said Minister Landau.

“We have been waiting for such projects for many, many years. It is high time, almost 20 years after (the) Oslo (Accords on Palestinian autonomy), that they will start working and take responsibility for handling their own things, said Minister Landau.

Water security affects both Israelis and Palestinians equally, and Minister Landau noted that the Palestinian Authority has not done enough to tackle sewage problems. The PA lets it “pour down the riverbeds and to our areas on the coastal plains, where at the same time they are not only polluting the rivers but these waters infiltrate to the underground aquifer which is the body of drinking water both for them and for us,” said Landau.

The Gaza desalination plant is estimated to cost as much as $450 million USD. The Palestinian Authority believes that this plant, funded with international aid, would be able to provide fresh water to Palestinians in Gaza by 2020.