Report – Condemned to Unemployment: East Jerusalem Women Struggle for Integration into the Labor Market

systemic problem that is not easy to solve….” Yet the committee dismissed the appeal, stating that the appellant “caused her failure to integrate into the workplace….” It nonetheless added that in order to facilitate the integration of this population into the workforce, there is a need for “deep systemic and national consideration” about, among other things, temporary solutions for childcare.

The Jerusalem Municipality is aware of the problem, but according to Deputy Mayor Ofer Berkowitz, it has never discussed building such facilities.[18]

4)        The Separation Barrier

The Separation Barrier (SB) cuts off over a third of the population of EJ from the rest of the city. In addition to being separated from municipal services, the residents living beyond the SB find it extremely difficult to reach work on time, for this entails going through checkpoints. Residents of Kafr Aqab have to pass through Kalandia Checkpoint along with a large number of West Bank residents who work in Israel, but the checkpoint opens at 6 a.m. The residents of the Shuafat Refugee Camp have to pass through Shuafat Checkpoint; it is open 24 hours a day, but most of the time only has two lanes available, and everyone must undergo a strict security check. All those using public transport also have to disembark and then re-embark, which regularly causes severe traffic jams.

Daily passage through the checkpoints makes it almost a mission impossible to meet the demands of the workplace—so says Fida’a Shweiki, a resident of Kafr Aqab, who was employed at Atarot Industrial Park, a ten minute drive from Kafr Aqab.  “They finished building the SB in 2006. At the beginning of 2010 it was still possible to pass through with relative ease. I got to work in half an hour…. In 2012 everything changed…. They closed the passage and made everyone get off the bus for checks at Kalandia Checkpoint. This is full of people and the passage takes over an hour. They only check two women at a time, and only when we have passed through do they let two others in. Then we have to get on the bus again. The journey lengthened to more than an hour and a half. I had to leave home at 5 or 5:30 in the morning, to get to the checkpoint early enough to catch a place in the queue before they opened. In 2014 there was some improvement when they divided us into two groups, one for those with a Jerusalem ID and the other for workers from the West Bank.”

5)        Public Transport: Isolated, Insufficient and Expensive

The public transport of EJ is cut off from that in West Jerusalem (hence, WJ). As a result, it is also more expensive, as we will detail below. In addition, the public transport system in EJ severely lacks bus lines. It is only available for limited hours and often finishes early in the afternoon.

The cost of a ticket for a single ride on EJ public transport is NIS 4.70, whereas in West Jerusalem, a separate fare for each ride has long been a thing of the past. The “Rav-Kav” (Multiline), which permits multiple rides on the buses and the light train for NIS 6.70, is not valid on EJ public transport. A worker employed for a full month in West Jerusalem has her public transport travel costs covered by her employer. A woman who lives in an EJ suburb but works in WJ is forced to pay NIS 4.70 twice daily for the EJ portion of her trips, and only in West Jerusalem can she take advantage of the “Rav-Kav.” If she lives in a more peripheral EJ neighbourhood, she has to pay the single-ride fare of NIS 4.70 multiple times a day. This can not only triple her travel costs but also, because of the lack of integration, dramatically increase her travel time. In some EJ areas, public transport does not operate at all, forcing working women to use taxis at their own expense, whether to the job or to a point from which they can use the Israeli public transport system.

The result is great difficulty in getting to the areas of employment in WJ. Sometimes this presents a real obstacle even during the hiring process. At the meeting of the Jerusalem Municipality’s “Committee for the Economic and Employment Development of East Jerusalem” (12 July, 2016), it was stated that a survey covering 10,000 residents from all the quarters of EJ revealed a clear demand for a link to employment areas in the west side of the city.

Jihan Sha’ar (40), married with five children, a resident of Silwan in EJ, was referred by the EB to five job interviews between August and December 2016. Only one was in a location she could reach by bus; another employer did not answer her calls over several days, so she herself took a taxi to his office at a cost of NIS 40, only to find that it was closed. When she finally managed to contact the employer, he told her to come again, and she again paid NIS 40, only to find

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