A Look At Jerusalem's Old City

Received on October 19, 2004
(IsraelNN.com) Following are some facts about Jerusalem's Old City extracted from a study conducted by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (JIIS).

The Old City has one of the world’s highest density rates – The population has grown by 42% since 1967, with the highest absolute growth in the Muslim community. The Muslim population remained constant from 1967 to 1983, but then jumped from 16,760 in 1983 to 22,814 in 1995 and 23,550 in 2000. There are 33,500 people living in the Old City today.

The Jewish population has risen from zero in 1967 to 2,235 in 1983, 2,802 in 1995 and 3,840 today. Among the Jewish population, 70% are hareidi (ultra-Orthodox), 25% are orthodox, only 5% are secular, compared to 40% among the Jews who returned to the Old City after 1967. The Jewish population growth had been mainly in the Jewish quarter and now about 800 Jews reside in the non-Jewish quarters.

The Christian population dropped from 6,994 in 1967 to 6,483 in 1983. In 1995, there were 6,750 Christian in the Old City and the numbers dropped since then. Because of the Muslim population growth and the return of the Jews, the percentage of Christians living in the Old City drooped by 5.5% since 1967.

A tremendous growth in the strength of the Waqf - Out of the 879 dunams (219 acres) of land in the Old City, 223 are owned by the Islamic Waqf- 25%. Muslims own 23%, the Christians 31%, and the remaining 21% by the State of Israel.

Vast increase in the number of Holy Places - The Old City is growing more religiously in its character – the number of holy places has grown from the 30 cited in a 1949 UN list to 328 in 2000.

The report notes the overcrowding, the poverty and the deteriorating infrastructures in the Muslim Quarter and calls for its rehabilitation.

Extensive illegal residential construction has been carried out in the Old City, often in cellars and courtyards, with almost no supervision by the Jerusalem municipality.
 
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