Sunday, August 12, 2012

Jerusalem for the Rich ?


Jerusalem's Mayor Nir Barkat would love to turn our city into a second Tel Aviv. Action, hightech and lots of tourists spending all their money only in Jerusalem. However, the Kotel (Western Wall), anything religious, local museum as well as the unique Jerusalem atmosphere don't seem to be too attractive to the hightech enterpreneur Barkat. Instead he wants more, as he is concentrating too much on Tel Aviv. The problem is that Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are two different cities with unique characters. And instead of accepting reality, Barkat wants a Jerusalem for rich outsiders spending money. 

Jerusalem has a lot to offer and those who do need a beach can still travel to Tel Aviv or other places. It has been going on for a couple of years now: Although the capital is suffering from a lack of apartments, only luxury apartments are being built. 

I was walking around downtown a few days ago and noticed more luxury being built. For the wealthy foreigner but not for an ordinary inhabitant of Jerusalem. 

 Here we are in Jaffa Road / Downtown Jerusalem

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Just look at all the new building complexes being built. However, it says LUXURY on the signs. And LUXURY doesn't mean for me and for you but for rich investors.

The latest view from Jaffa Road to Rabbi Kook Street

And a few meters further away:

The luxury apartment complex in the background hasn't found too many investors yet and mostly remains empty.

Photos: Miriam Woelke

Most Jerusalemites are ordinary people with an ordinary income. Hardly anyone is able to afford any expensive kind of housing. On the contrary, as most of us are already happy when they can pay the bills and buy groceries.



    Interesting discussion on Israel. Wonder if you agree with Professor Shlomo Sands, about Israel being for Israelis not Jews. That they need to end the right of return!?

  2. Worrying about money negates life.
    Terms like "luxury" etc, only encourage disparity among other people, and soon after that the value of a human life follows.

    When the city and its people only - notice I wrote ONLY - caters to housing of the rich, the rich will find another place to have an apartment. Living in Jerusalem is for those who want to LIVE in Jerusalem, just like any other place. Eventually the "rich" will leave if the city doesn't cave in to their demands especially if their (the rich people's) economic muscle (money) is ignored 100%.


    PS: All of this is ideal of course. But we're getting there!

  3. B"H

    @ Eric

    Unfortunately, those rich foreign investors don't live in Jerusalem but only come on vacation at the time of the high holidays.

    @ Dooovid

    I usually don't watch AlJazeera Videos because I know for what kind of opinion they stand for.

    However, I do think that the Right of Return should remain. But for halachic Jews only !!! Otherwise I haven't heard a discussion about an Israel only being for Israelis. There hasn't been a public discussion like that and we also have other problems.

  4. Then the city needs to reassess how it allows residents to "own" or rent property for more than 3 months at a time. Such as, "one may not rent a residence within X amount of kilometers, if one does not maintain active residence for more than 3/4 of the year"

  5. B"H

    The city doesn't interfere as selling or renting is done buy a landlord / owner who go according to the price paid. There are many apartment owners who only offer their property on Anglo sites for purchase. Only because they think that Americans are willing to pay more than Israelis.

  6. What I'm arguing is that the city might want to interfere.

  7. B"H

    Not necessarily, as Mayor Nir Barkat is looking for more wealthy people and especially investors settling in Jerusalem. Or in other word: Money makes the world go round. :-)