By Aryeh Savir
Tazpit News Agency
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held the weekly government meeting at Mount Herzl on Sunday in honor of Jerusalem Day which is to be celebrated on Wednesday (May 8). Israel will celebrate the 46th anniversary of the unification of its capital. Netanyahu stated during the special session that the liberation of Jerusalem was a part of Theodor Herzl’s vision for the Jewish State, adding that Jerusalem provides “A connection to our glorious and sublime history, and also gives us a window to the future, which won’t be any less sublime or glorious. We are committed to act accordingly.”
Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat added: “There’s no doubt that Jerusalem is flying high in a lot of aspects. We wouldn’t have gotten there without the strong support of the prime minister and the government under your leadership.”
During the special cabinet meeting several projects were approved to advance the capital at a budget of 1 Billion NIS. The cabinet also decided to establish a Ministerial Committee on Jerusalem affairs, part of the Jerusalem Affairs Office, which is currently headed by Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett.
In honor of Jerusalem Day, the Central Bureau of Statistics released a special report on Jerusalem’s stats. Jerusalem is the largest city in Israel. In 2011, Jerusalem counted 804,400 residents; close to 500,000 of them are Jews. They constitute 10% of Israel’s total population. In 1948 Jerusalem had only 82,900 residents. During 2012, 22,800babies were born in Jerusalem.
New immigrants are also favoring the nation’s capital. In 2011, 14 percent of new immigrants chose Jerusalem as their new home, a much higher rate than either Tel Aviv (5%) or Haifa (7%).
Jerusalem is also a leading force in the academia. 24% of the nation’s PhD students are concentrated in Jerusalem’s universities. Most of those 2,550 academics are at Hebrew University. A total of 37,700 students studied in Jerusalem’s high education institutions during 2012. The capital boasts the country’s biggest school system. Some 258,800 students attend various schools in the city.
The capital is also the Israel’s number-one tourist destination. In 2012, some 917,000 sightseers were drawn to the Old City’s shrines, relics and archaeological findings, 29% of all overseas travelers.
Mayor Barkat affirmed that “we Jerusalemites have reclaimed our pride in our city, which we love so much. For the first time in many years we have made Jerusalem attractive to the younger population, who has chosen to stay and live here. Jerusalem is on the rise in all facets.”