Study: Most Israelis willing to cede E. Jerusalem Arab areas
By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent

More than half of Israeli Jews would be willing to give up East Jerusalem's Arab neighborhoods and effectively redivide the city as part of a genuine peace agreement, but the overwhelming majority (75 percent of those willing to make these concessions) do not believe it is possible to achieve genuine peace with the Palestinians. Only a small percentage are willing, even as part of a genuine peace agreement, to give up the Old City, the Western Wall and the Temple Mount.

The figures are derived from a comprehensive public opinion poll on Jerusalem, carried out by Dr. Aharon Fein and the Tazpit Research Institute for the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (JIIS).

JIIS researchers created demographic, economic, social and security indexes to study the the city's current situation. Most of the indexes point to negative trends. The research will be presented next week at the Herzliya Conference on the Balance of Israel's National Security.

According to the research, the willingness to concede the capital's Arab neighborhoods can be understood in light of the huge majority (95.3 percent) of respondents who believe it is very important for Jerusalem to have a significant Jewish majority.

Among the adult population, 63 percent are willing to make concessions in Jerusalem as part of a genuine peace agreement. Some 3.2 percent are willing to give up the Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives and the Western Wall; and 5.4 percent are willing to give up the Arab neighborhoods, the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and the Mount of Olives, but not the Wall. More than half the respondents, 54.4 percent, would give up the East Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods alone, while 36 percent are unwilling to make any territorial concessions in Jerusalem, including the Arab neighborhoods.

People whose religious self-definition was "traditional" or "secular" were significantly more likely to agree to concessions than those who defined themselves as religious or ultra-Orthodox.

The indexes create the following pessimistic picture of Jerusalem:

Population Index - Jerusalem's Jewish majority is shrinking. When the city was reunified in June 1967, the city was 75 percent Jewish. That figure has shrunk to 66 percent. If current trends continue, the Jewish majority will drop to 58 percent by 2020 and by 2030 the population will be evenly divided between Arabs and Jews.

Migration Index - The negative migration balance of the city is increasing. Over the past 20 years, Jerusalem has lost more than 100,000 residents.

Economic Indexes - Workforce participation is among the lowest in the country, due to the scant numbers of ultra-Orthodox men and Arab women who work outside the home. More than half of the city's working residents are employed in service industries, where average salaries are low. Per-capita income is the lowest among the country's major cities, which is reflected in buying power, the city's commercial sector and the situation of the municipality.

Jerusalem is the poorest of Israel's large cities, and one-third of its families are below the poverty line. More than 53 percent of the city's children are defined as poor, and the city's Arab population is considerably poorer than the Jewish population.
Personal Security Index - Since the start of the second Intifada, in October 2000, there have been 635 terror incidents in the city, in which 1,643 people were injured and 211 were killed. (The latter figure represents 20 percent of all Intifada deaths over the past five years.) Although tourism in the city has improved recently, it still remains low in comparison with the 1990s.