Jerusalem Day: Youngsters discuss hardships, advantages (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Omri Efraim Published: 05.20.12, 09:05)
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Two young woman debate pros and cons of living in Israel´s capital;
GPO publishes photos of Netanyahu drawing Old City on flight to
"There is something special here that unites people. I wouldn´t want
to live anywhere else," Inbal Halperin, a 28-year-old master´s degree
student who works as a developer of communities for young people in
the capital, said one the eve of Jerusalem Day, which Israel marks on
Halperin returned to Jerusalem two years ago after living in Tel Aviv
for three years, but the capital is still plagued by negative
To mark Jerusalem Day, the Government Press Office published photos
of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drawing the Old City walls and
the Tower of David during a recent flight to Prague. But statistics
paint a bleak picture. In 2011 some 10,500 people moved to Jerusalem,
while 18,000 left the capital.
Halperin, who was born in Jerusalem, left for Tel Aviv after her army
service. "Like everyone else, I wanted a change of atmosphere, but
after completing my bachelor´s degree I felt something was missing,
so I returned to Jerusalem and found a job," she told Ynet. "Besides,
the rent here is lower. The apartment I live in would cost double in
"It is true that it is hard to find a job here and that the problem
of the expansion of the ultra-Orthodox population also affects
apartment prices, but I believe that young secular people, if they
work together, can change the situation," she said.
According to Halperin, "There is a different spirit in Jerusalem and
different types of people who make the city the real thing. This is
the real Israel: Haredim, Arabs, seculars, young people – all living
together. Those who want to live in a bubble can find it in Tel Aviv.
"I returned because I wanted to do something that has social
significance, and I thought Jerusalem was the right place to do it
in. I wanted to live among people who, like me, want to be involved.
Tel Aviv is fun, but there is also a sense of alienation. Jerusalem,
on the other hand, is a hotbed for young activists," she said.
Of the 801,000 people who currently reside in Jerusalem, 407,000 are
Jews (62%), 281,000 are Muslim (35%) and 14,000 are Christian (2%).
Tamar Katzir, 26, left Jerusalem a year ago. "I work in the
communications field, and while I knew there were possibilities in
Jerusalem, the leading companies are in Tel Aviv. Many of my friends
left Jerusalem simply because they did not see a professional future
there. This issue is very significant, particularly when you are just
out of university and think about what you want to do with your
life," she told Ynet.
Addressing the growing haredi population in the capital, Katzir
said "this is not an easy city. People sometimes feel like strangers
in their own neighborhood and draw conclusions. For me personally –
there were not enough pluralistic young people in the city."
Elisheva Mazya, who heads New Spirit, an organization that encourages
young adults and professionals to stay in Jerusalem, said "this is
the first year in which I am sensing a real change. Serious efforts
have been made over the past few years to change the city´s image,
which is significant in making the city attractive to people. A
growing number of young people want to stay here, and a lot of work
is being done with regards to housing and employment – which
ultimately make the difference." (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet
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