Shaked, a Kfar Saba native but also a 16-year resident of the city said: “I believe that anyone who comes for any reason to live in the city and have his own job and apartment will stay here forever. Our job is to make sure that there are employment and housing here. By 2040, the city’s population will double in size, so that is no small challenge. “
The city entrance project was just radically modified to accommodate 2,000 apartments. Shaked explained that the plan was largely inspired by “what is happening in central train stations in other cities in the world” and the TASE tower in Ramat Gan. Shaked also noted that there are plans to build an additional 2,600 housing units in Givat Hamatos although he admits that no construction is currently being undertaken.
In eastern Jerusalem, where illegal construction is rampant, Shaked notes that they are attempting to regulate the situation there too. “We are promoting a lot of specific construction plans,” all in compliance with government code to discourage illegal construction among Jerusalem’s Arab population. He adds that there is no discrimination between the eastern and western sides of the city saying that he is the authority in the Arab neighborhood of Shu’afat and the Jewish neighborhood of Beit Hakerem as well. Shaked also notes that both neighborhoods enjoy Jerusalem’s light rail trolley service equally as an example of the equality the city hall extends to its residents.
The Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research (JIPR)published an annual report in May. According to their data, Israel’s capital currently boasts over 900,000-residents, comprising of 62% Jews and 32% Arabs. Among the Jewish population, 22% are secular, a higher number than it was in 2009.