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Living Comfortably in Israel.

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Last Updated on January 4, 2022

What does ‘living comfortably’ mean to Israel’s Anglo community?

When planning your Aliyah or relocation budget you have to know how much it costs to live in Israel and how much you need every month to live comfortably.  In October 2014 we asked our Facebook group members what ‘living comfortably’ means to them.  A long discussion ensued and it was clear that comfortable meant many different things to different people. In an attempt to determine exactly what ‘comfortable’ means we designed an online survey, publicized it on 4 of the largest Israel-Anglo Facebook groups.  We also received many private emails with expanded information.  The survey was limited to 100 participants and typically one can expect a 10% margin of error on this number.

israel family living
Place of Origin %
USA & Canada 57.14
Central & South America 1.19
United Kingdom 16.67
Southern Africa 10.71
Australia & New Zealand 1.19
European country 8.33
Israel born 3.57
Other 1.19
Where will you be living in Israel or where do you live in Israel?
02 – Jerusalem area 29.76
03 – Gush Dan 19.05
04 – Haifa & the North 33.33
08 – Beer Sheva & the South 2.38
09 – The Sharon 15.48
How many people currently live in your household?
One 21.43
Two 21.43
Three 15.48
Four 16.67
Five or more 25.00
How many dependent children do you have in your household?
None 44.58
One 14.46
Two 15.66
Three 10.84
Four 8.43
Five or more 6.02
What is your approximate average monthly household income?  
 4,000 – 9,000 Shekels 42.68
 9,000 – 15,000 Shekels 24.39
15,000 – 20,000 Shekels 13.41
20,000 – 25,000 Shekels 7.32
25,000 – 30,000 Shekels 4.88
More than 30,000 Shekels 7.32
General Questions    Yes No Neither yes or no
I need to be employed to live comfortably in Israel 85.71 4.76 9.52
My spouse or partner needs to be employed as well 67.12 5.48 27.4
I need to own my own home or paying off a mortgage to be living  comfortably in Israel 38.46 44.87 16.67
I am happy living in rented accommodation 45.12 39.02 15.85
We must live in a fashionable neighborhood 14.10 65.38 20.51
We must have an air conditioner 90.36 7.23 2.41
We must have a clothes dryer 41.98 54.32 3.7
We must have a TV 50.0 47.5 2.5
We must have more than one TV 11.84 84.21 3.95
We must have cable TV 32.91 65.82 1.27
We must have at least one computer 98.81 1.19
We must have a computer or tablet for each member of the family 31.65 53.16 15.19
We must have the highest internet speed  33.33  59.26  7.41
I must have a mobile phone  97.62  2.38  —
All family members must have a mobile phone  48.75  38.75  12.5
All appliances or items of furniture etc. in our home must be bought new  9.88  79.01  11.11
We must have a fixed food budget  22.22  56.79  20.99
I am comfortable having either an overdraft, credit card debt or other outstanding loans 23.17 67.07 9.76
I must own my own car 51.22 40.24 8.54
We must have more than one car 18.99 68.35 12.66
My children must attend private schools 7.5 70.00 22.5
My children should be able to attend at least one “chug” – extra mural activity 58.02 16.05 25.93
My children should be able to attend two or more “chugim” 21.52 41.77 36.71
We must have a family holiday in Israel or abroad, at least once a year 50.00 32.93 17.07
We must be able to eat out regularly or at least once a month 55.42 34.94 9.64
We must be able to go to a movie, concert or other performance at least once a month 36.59 46.34 17.07
We must be able to afford new clothes or apparel at least once a month 27.71 56.63 15.66
I should be able to buy whatever I want 9.88 69.14 20.99
I should be able to buy whatever I need 86.75 6.02 7.23
I have dropped my standard of living in Israel 65.85 26.83 7.32

Other Anglo-list surveys and research

Your comments on this survey

-“Although our income is considerably lower in Israel, we are still able to scrape by and would not trade living in Israel for anything.”

-“It is tough, but somehow we manage!”

-“The most important thing when you arrive in Israel is to find kind and welcoming people, you will enjoy life a lot even if you standard of living drops a bit”

-“This does not address disabled people who can not either work, or get any additional assistance. I have NO QUALITY OF LIFE!, and am abused for my lack of language.”

-“I am still working in my country of origin so income is from abroad”

-“When people are planning to make Aliyah and are considering how much rent they can pay they should make provisions for arnona. I know several families who had to move after one year when their arnona discount ended because they could not afford to pay arnona on top of their rent. They incurred huge extra expenses in moving and paying another deposit on a new apartment etc. It would be better to get an apartment that they can afford long term and I think people coming especially from the USA aren’t used to paying taxes on rentals and may not be expecting to have this additional expense.”

-“Living in Israel is a down-grade, and it is difficult. I came, not for the comfort, but for Zionist ideals. However, it is certainly not enough to create a life here pragmatically speaking. Its no wonder that 50% of those making aliyah leave within the first 5 years…I wish there was more help. It is sad.”

-“When i was living in NYC you had to keep up with the others in the community the same in south beach Fl. But in Israel there Jews of all types so I do not feel the need to keep up with others so I can be happy with a lot less.”

-“While we had a much lower income when we lived in the US, we were at a very different stage of life. (Newlywed, no kids, husband was still in university, I had an entry-level job with a non-profit org….) So our standard of living only went up when we moved to Israel. :-)”

-“Not addressed: nanny/childcare expenses and housekeeping expenses are extremely low in Israel and will allow us to have more than one child while we both (choose to) work outside the home. My friends in the US cannot afford that.”

-“Should include income of less than 4000 NIS per month”

-“Should have asked about age of participants. Sounds like geared to young families. We have two kids who are already out of the house.”

-“Unwilling to share financial information. You leave out the satisfaction/idealism factor in people not prioritizing income for Zionism. I’m here 30 years and don’t ever think about what I might have earned “back there”. I live here and make the best of what I have.”

-“I need a car and my wife needs a car for work. We both travel where it would be difficult to get to via public transportation. I should be able to buy whatever I need – the question is do I? No”

-“I’ve been living here over forty years, all my children are grown, I live alone and am retired so don’t know how much of a help this is. I live on less than 4000 a month but it is extremely difficult if there are extra expenses”

-“It costs a lot to live here so many of us do without things here that we would never dream of doing without int he USA, like no dishwasher, dryer, car, and buying the cheapest cell phones, clothes, and trying to stretch every shekel as far as we can !”

-“Translate children to pets. 7 cats, 2 dogs. Only the best food.”

-“Thanks for doing this. Will you be posting results on the Facebook group?”

-“I arrived with six suitcases, no Hebrew, and $600 (then spent $350on a phone the next week). It’s not the same as moving somewhere. It’s Aliyah – make it work!!!!”

-“We are currently retired.”

-“Nothing about marital status.”

-“Earning a minimal wage is the pits especially with 2 small children at a gan on a kibbutz”

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