What is the real cost of living in Israel? When I move, will I have to dip into my savings every month?
Hebrew:כמה עולה לגור בישראל
You've made the decision, taking the plunge and making aliyah. You've got a few months to get organized and if you haven't alreay you might be wondering what the real costs of living in Israel is. How much money does your family need to come out every month? Is it possible to live on $5000 a month? Is it possible to live comfortably on less? Use our guide of average living expenses to help in building your Aliyah or relocation budget. Prices listed here are based on an average family of four.
Obviously living expenses will vary from family to family according to your life-style and the town or city you choose to live in. For example, on average, living in Ra'anana is about 30 percent more expensive than living in Haifa. Municipal taxes (arnona) in Haifa however, are amongst the highest in Israel.
Salaries in Israel are lower than you are used to earning! As of December 2017 the minimum wage in Israel, according to the Department of Statistics, stands at 5,300 shekels per month. The average monthly wage is about 9,500 shekels.
Your first year in Israel will be the hardest; you'll probably be at ulpan for about 5 months and it may take another few months until you find a job. So take some time to develop a realistic budget.
Israel Housing Prices
Rental prices in Israel vary considerably. We have based our price on a very basic and average 100sq/m -3 bedroom apartment.
Expect to pay upwards of 3,500NIS/month in Haifa
Between 5,500 NIS and 7,000 NIS/month is Tel Aviv is average
Upward of 7,000 NIS/month in Bakaa and Bayit VeGan in Jerusalem is average
Usually a 40% down-payment is required when making a property purchase. Your monthly mortgage payment or your rental should not exceed more than 1/3 of your income. Prices listed here are just a basic guideline. Check with your realtor and research current prices.
Prices quoted per square meter in US$
|Jerusalem||6,000 - 12,000|
|Tel Aviv||5,000 - 7,000|
|Beersheva, Haifa, Hadera & Afula||2,500 - 5,000|
|Modiin||2,000 - 2,500|
House Committee Levy - Vaad HaBayit
The monthly house committee levy generally includes electricity (for the entrance and stairwells), water (garden and washing floors - entrance and stairwells), a cleaning person and general building maintenance. Special one-time repairs or maintenance are generally divided equally by the neighbors if and when necessary. These repairs are not the responsibility of a tenant. The monthly levy is much higher in buildings that have elevators and swimming pools.
Expect to pay upwards of anywhere between 50 - 300 NIS and more/month
Gas: Cooking & Heating Costs
A small gas balloon - 12kg - costs around 150 shekels and generally lasts for 2 - 3 months when used for cooking purposes only. If you use gas to heat your home in the winter, your bill will be considerably higher. Ceramic stoves (glass tops) are now quite popular in Israel and are energy efficient making the operating costs quite comparable to gas.
Expect to pay between 50 - 100 NIS for gas/month
Lights, washing machine, dishwasher, oven, microwave and other small appliances (not including the cost to run a clothes dryer or an air-conditioner).
Expect to pay between 250 - 700 NIS/month depending on the season and your location.
Gas ranges are still more popular than electric ones. Consider using toaster ovens instead of regular ovens for small quantities and quick cooking.
Electricity bills are sent out every 2 months so your actual bill will be double of that which is listed here (around 500 - 1500 shekels)
The cost of running an air conditioning units is approximately one shekel per hour.
Municipal water bill
Under the current water restrictions and regulations, each family member is entitled to 3.5 cu per month. A family of 4 is therefore entitled to 14 cu of water per month. Water consumption above this, is charged at a much higher rate. The water bill is sent out every 2 months.
A family of four can expect to pay around 150 shekels every 2 months (based on taking showers and not baths and running a dishwasher and a washing machine every day)
Arnona - Municipal rates and taxes
Arnona on 100 sq/m. Budget for at least 500 shekels per month but expect to pay more in exclusive suburbs
Statements of account for municipal taxes are sent out every 2 months. Arnona rates vary from one municipal district to another. Within a city the rates and taxes vary from suburb to suburb. There is no regulation as to how the Arnona is calculated - some municipal councils may include the walls, balconies, stairwells, refuse areas etc.and others may not.
2012 saw a revolution in the mobile phone industry in Israel with the establishment of a number of new mobile phone carriers. Competition between them is rife. Before signing up for any phone plan with any carrier, please read the fine print very, very carefully.
These prices are correct as at 15 September, 2018. Telecommunications companies reserve the right to adjust their prices at any time.
Bezeq (Israel's first telecommunications carrier) do not advertise prices on their website however they offer internet, telephone packages and other internet services like smart home - home automation as well as cloud services.
HOT cable company is currently offering a triple package which includes internet, 300 minutes call time from a landline, selected television channels for 199 NIS/month
YES is currently offering cable TV packages from 149 NIS/month
Partner (Orange) are offering a triple package which includes; television, landline and internet from 139NIS/month
Golan Telecom is offering packages that start at 10NIS/month and up to 100NIS/month. These packages include local calls, SMS services, internet up to 40GB/month, international calls to landlines, a virtual telephone number as well as calls and internet abroad.
Hot Mobile is offering packages that start at 39NIS/month and include: local telephone calls and SMS,100GB of internet/month in Israel, 300 minutes of call time to landlines abroad and 2GB of internet abroad in selected countries.
Smartphone purchase; from 1000 NIS
It pays to shop around.
The costs listed here are based on an average family of four and refer to basic food and grocery items. If you regularly buy gourmet, delicatessen items or imported goods, then budget more.
Budget a minimum of 1500NIS/month for food and grocery items
Budget a minimum of 600 shekels/month for fruit and vegetables
Shopping at the fresh produce market is considerably cheaper on Friday afternoons from around 2pm till closing at 4pm. Get more tips for shopping in Israel and check out average supermarket prices for the past 3 years.
Israel Transport Costs
How much does it cost to run a car?
Budget a minimum of 500NIS/month for 3rd party and comprehensive insurance on an average family vehicle
Budget around 500NIS for the annual roadworthy (package deal:- regular service + pre-test check + test levy)
Budget between 6 and 7 NIS/liter for gasoline. The price of regular gasoline is adjusted on the 1st of the month. Some gas stations offer discounts so it is important to shop around for the best deal. Self-service is cheaper.
Budget a minimum of 1000 NIS/year for the vehicle license - different types of vehicles at different rates
Driver's license - annual renewal fee (you can renew your driver's license for up to 10 years at a time - 52 - 439 NIS
Driving lessons - budget around 120NIS/lesson
Driver's test - 400NIS
Regular route, single adult bus fare - 5.90NIS
Sherut (shared taxi) - 6.00NIS
Train fare is determined by distance
Keep these amounts in mind when budgeting for entertainment
40 NIS for a movie ticket
47 NIS for a 3D movie
100 - 400NIS for live shows, local artists, theater and symphony
300 - 1,500NIS for overseas artists
Children's theater - budget 80NIS per ticket
50 NIS - an adult ticket for entrance to a museum
70 NIS entrance fee to a water park
396 NIS for an annual membership to the Israel Nature & Parks Authority - Matmon Card
Eating out. Frugal foodies or expensive eating.
50 NIS for MacDonalds combo meal
20 NIS for a felafel (a half-portion is also available for the not-so-hungry)
35 NIS for a Schwarma
150 NIS for a steak
60 NIS for a burger (you might have to pay extra for fries)
60 - 70 NIS for a large salad (enough for 2)
18 NIS for special coffees
8 - 12 NIS for a soda can in a restaurant
20 - 30 NIS for a beer in a pub
6.50NIS for 1.5 liters of coca-cola in a supermarket
Municipal school fees in Israel, are laid out by the Ministry of Education. Additional charges are levied by the schools and will vary from school to school. Levies would include: the parent's committee, annual class trip, heating, class year books, parties etc.
|Basic fee (sal ha'tarbut)||150 – 400 NIS/year
|Class parties||25 - 100 NIS|
|Annual class trip||400 – 1,000 NIS|
|Personal effects, notebooks, equipment etc. (not clothing)||600 NIS|
|An after school activity; ballet, judo, art etc. (per month per activity)||150 - 200 NIS|
|Private school fees||2,000+NIS month|
|Private day care for tiny tots (generally includes a meal)||1500+NIS month|
As of September 2012 fees for children attending municipal kindergartens, from age 3, were lifted.
|Summer T shirts||25 – 45 NIS ea|
|Girls summer tights (leggings/ski pants) Please note: some schools in Israel, no longer allow girls to wear these tights. Check with your school before you buy||35 - 65 NIS ea|
|Boys summer gym shorts||35 - 55 NIS ea|
|Long sleeved T's||35 - 55 NIS ea|
|Winter sweatshirts and hoodies||45 - 100 NIS ea|
|Jeans||200 - 300 NIS/pair|
|Sneakers||300 - 700 NIS/pair|
Minimum Wage or Salary in Israel as at December 2017
|Per hour if you work per hour (regular hours - without overtime)||28.00 shekels/hour|
|Per month if you work on a monthly salary||5,300 shekels/month