Agrippas Street in Downtown Jerusalem at Machane Yehudah Market
Jerusalem doesn’t only find itself confronted with the daily Palestinian terror but has, as every other city in the world, more problems than that. The Municipality has no money, as everything was spent on building the tram and a fancy bridge with tracks. Nevertheless, the tram has become extremely popular but this alone doesn’t solve the city’s budget problem.
Another severe problem is the terrible housing situation. There are hardly any affordable apartments available and if there are, most of them are run-down cellars without a window or a place full of mold. If someone insists on having one of the nicer apartments, he has to go through an agent and pay a high rent.
Finding a job in Jerusalem is not that easy too. It can be a struggle depending on your profession and age. A friend of mine was just looking for an apartment and she spoke to many agents. All of them were new immigrants from France and Russia and my friend was told that these new immigrants couldn’t find a job and thus decided to become a real estate agent. The Russian agent said that she was too old to fit into the regular Israeli job market.
People who are looking for a well-paid job as well as for better job opportunities usually move to Tel Aviv, Rishon LeZion, Netanya, Herzliya, Petach Tikvah or Hod Hasharon. However, they have to take into consideration that they may earn more money but costs of living are far higher than in Jerusalem. So, there goes the money for rent, bills and groceries. 🙂
Our Mayor Nir Barkat likes to claim that Jerusalem is creating a lot of new jobs. The question is where and in what kind of field?
There are a lot of startups in town and many of them were founded by new immigrants. Immigrants who couldn’t find a job anywhere else or who just couldn’t get used to the Israeli work mentality such as talking on the phone or playing around with a smartphone. According to my experience, people in Tel Aviv work more than their counterparts in Jerusalem. In Tel Aviv people have to rush because the superior is constantly pushing them. In Jerusalem, however, it happens quite a lot that you enter a store and the staff doesn’t even look at you. No one is coming to serve you but the staff members are giving you the feeling that you bother them.
A further typical Jerusalem problem is the parking situation. There are hardly any parking lots left downtown. Thus, residents prefer shopping at the big malls outside town, as there is lots of free parking space available. The Jerusalem Municipality just destroyed two huge parking lots downtown. One at the Gerard Behar Center, as an art school is building something and in Eliash Street, where unnecessary luxury apartments are being build in the shape of a pyramid.
Mayor Nir Barkat has no solutions whatsoever and is not even interested anymore, as he is planning to join the Knesset and become prime minister. That’s his big dream but the truth is that he has less charisma than former mayor and prime minister Ehud Olmert. By the way, Olmert is going to jail in February, as he was found guilty of bribery and money laundering.
The ordinary Jerusalem resident has to be inventive and find his own solutions because no politician cares. 🙂