Subsidies entice people to move to East Jerusalem
Settlements found appealing to young families
While East Jerusalem remains a divided land in the nation of Israel, it
has begun to attract young people and families who are enticed to
settlements due to government subsidies. These government incentives
significantly lower their cost of living.
Affordable housing has attracted many young people and families to East Jerusalem.
Young families are attracted to the area as the Israeli Ministry of Education spends more per pupil there than it does in Israel regularly. The ministry invests about 8,000 Israeli new shekels or $2,000 a year on every student over the Green Line, i.e. the pre-1967 boundary with the West Bank, nearly double what it spends on a pupil inside Israel.
"There are a lot of Russian [immigrants]; the majority are Mizrachim. a small amount are Ashkenazim," one Ariel resident says.
The Mizrachim, or Jews from Arab countries and recent immigrants tend to crowd around the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. Ashkenazim, Jews of Eastern European descent, are generally more affluent. The Mizrachim are henceforth led towards the settlements and Israel's less desirable "peripheral" areas. The Ashkenazim tend to cluster towards the center of the country.
Twenty-nine-year-old Evgeni Siprmov who emigrated from the former Soviet Union to the Israeli city of Petach Tikva with his parents in 1994, has moved to Ariel four years ago to study at the settlement's college. He was also drawn by the low cost of living.
"The food was never cheaper but the rent, yes, it was cheaper," Siprmov says. "It used to be that you would pay 400,000 [or $99,875] to buy a small house here. It's [$149,813] now - the same as Petach Tikva.
"There is no true [free market] competition here . It's all cartels," he says, a recent graduate of economics.
Israelis inside the Green Line struggle to keep up with high housing costs, high taxes and increasing food, gas, and electricity prices on relatively low wages. However, in lieu of investing in affordable housing inside of Israel, the state has instituted austerity measures and is giving more to the settlements.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government has increased spending on settlements by 38 percent. The agency Peace Now reports that 2011 saw a 20 percent rise in settlement construction and the number of settlers has grown by 4.5 per cent in 2012.
While Ariel is quickly becoming unaffordable, it still holds some economic appeal.
Small numbers of people who are attracted to ideological principles have begun moving back. Some relocate to Jewish-majority areas in hopes of radicalizing Israeli society, and harnessing more support for settlements. Others have moved to mixed areas, where Jewish Israelis and Palestinians live in relative harmony, in order to assert a Jewish presence.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: East Jerusalem, settlements, ideology, subsidies, housing
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