(The J-RIS project was launched in June 2005 to identify issues that could contribute to the economic development of Jerusalem. This goal is of special importance given the character and status of Jerusalem, which despite being the capital of Israel and its national/historical/principle importance to all of Israel’s residents, has remained a poor city. In fact, it is the poorest of all the large cities in Israel. The project, predominately funded by the Sixth EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, was carried out by the Jerusalem Development Authority, Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies and the North Brabant Development Agency.
Two key conceptions were at the heart of this project:
1. Innovation is the main driver for generating competitive advantages and profitability. This profitability leads to higher rates of employment, higher wages, increased investment and, in the end, growth of the entire region.
2. The project must strive to reach a regional consensus on the goals and objectives to be promoted in the project. To this end, a strong steering committee was created, in which representatives of the relevant entities in the region were represented.
The J-RIS project focus on the following areas as those with the highest potential for making the city more attractive to people both within and outside it, and for changing its image from a “bland” city that suffers from negative migration and economic regression to that of a lively city that gives positive expression to its diversity and harnesses the young creative forces in it (in various populations) for growth and economic prosperity.
1. Integrating the Haredi minority (ultra-orthodox jews) into innovative industries by making higher education accessible to them.
2. Developing diverse media, technology and culture cluster.
3. Jerusalem as a city of knowledge.
4. Brainstorming team to find ways of promoting rural tourism in the Jerusalem region.
In addition to these activities, the project staff was asked to examine the industrial situation in Jerusalem and to generally identify failures that impede its development