What is the real cost of living in Israel? When I make Aliyah, 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 have a few months in hand to get organized and now you are actively thinking about your income, expenditure and the real costs of living in Israel. How much money will your family need to come out every month? Is it possible to live on the equivalent of $5000 a month? Is it possible to live comfortably on less?
We have put together a guide of average basic, living expenses to help build 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 Raanana 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 August, 2021 the minimum wage in Israel, according to the Department of Statistics, is 5,300 shekels per month. The average monthly wage is 11,300 shekels (August 2021). Due to Corona the average monthly wage has dropped slightly. The combined family income, after tax, hovers at around $4,500 which is about 14,500 Shekels.
Your first year in Israel will be the hardest; and cash flow could be a problem. Most likely, you’ll be at ulpan for about 5 months and it may take another few months until you find a steady job. Take some time to develop a realistic budget that will get you through the survival time and into a period of financial calm.
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 an average of 4,000NIS/month in Haifa. That would be around 3,000 NIS downtown and about 7,000+NIS in the more affluent neighborhoods.
Between 6,500 NIS and 8,500 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 a guideline only, check with your realtor and research current prices.
Prices quoted per square meter in NIS
|Jerusalem||20,000 – 31,000|
|Tel Aviv||30,000 – 46,000|
|Beersheva, Haifa, Hadera & Afula||12,000 -20,000|
|Modiin||20,000 – 28,000|
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. Monthly maintenance costs are the responsibility of the tenant while structural maintenance is the responsibility of the owner and are not the responsibility of a tenant. The monthly house committee levy is much higher in buildings that have elevators and swimming pools.
Expect to pay upwards of anywhere between 50 – 300 NIS or even more/month
Gas: Cooking & Heating Costs
A small gas balloon – 12kg – costs around 150NIS 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.
So, expect to pay between 50 – 100 NIS for gas/month for cooking purposes only.
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. 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)
- Gas ranges are still more popular than electric ones in Israel. Consider using toaster ovens instead of a regular oven for small quantities and quick cooking.
- The cost of running a small, single air conditioning unit is approximately one shekel per hour.
- Hebrew English translation of the bi-monthly Hevrat HaHashmal (Israel Electric Company) electricity bill
- Is it worth bring appliances and small electrical appliances to Israel?
- Electricity overview: rates, saving electricity, paying your bill online…
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 NOT baths and running a dishwasher and a washing machine every day)
Arnona – Municipal rates and taxes
Arnona on 100 sq/m: Budget a minimum of 500 shekels per month but expect to pay more in exclusive suburbs.
Statements of account for municipal taxes are also 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.
- New immigrants and other sectors of the population are entitled to discounts on their arnona
- For your convenience, a Hebrew English translation of the arnona bill
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. Telecommunications companies reserve the right to adjust their prices at any time. Before signing up for any phone or telecommunications plan with any carrier, please read the fine print very, very carefully.
The carriers should advertise prices and special offers on their websites. Packages combining internet, fiber optic, land lines and mobile as well as other internet services like smart home – home automation as well as cloud services.
Smartphone purchase; upwards of 1000 NIS. We do not recommend that you sign up for a telecommunications contract that includes the purchase of a telephone. Buy your phone as a separate piece of hardware and it pays to shop around.
- A list of local and cable television and news channels
- Click here for a translation of your mobile phone bill and other household bills.
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.
Supermarket items: Budget a minimum of 3,000NIS/month for basic food and grocery items (family of 4)
Fresh produce market – the shuk: Budget a minimum of 600 shekels/month for fruit and vegetables. Add at least 20% to that bill if you purchase fruit and veg in a supermarket or via online marketplaces.
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 economy vehicle
Budget around 800NIS for the annual roadworthy (package deal:- regular service + pre-test check + test levy). Regular servicing of your vehicle, as per the manufacturers instructions vary from vehicle to vehicle.
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 1500 NIS/year for an economy vehicle, license.
Driver’s license – annual renewal fee – 52 NIS. You can renew your driver’s license for up to 10 years at a time – 439 NIS.
Driving lessons – budget around 125NIS/lesson
Driver’s test – 400NIS
Regular route, single adult bus fare – 5.90NIS (under 5’s free if they sit on your lap or do not occupy a seat).
Regular sherut (shared taxi) fare – 6.00NIS (fares between cities is determined by distance)
Train fare is determined by distance
A day-pass gives you multiple rides, without limitation on the number of rides, on all forms of public transport for a 24 hour period. The price is determined by the route; price differs for example, if you are travelling from Haifa to Tel Aviv or Haifa to Jerusalem.
- All salaried employees are entitled to compensation for their traveling expenses to and from work. The travel allowance is set out by law and usually refers the set public transport rate
- A typical Israeli salary slip translated from Hebrew to English
Keep these amounts in mind when budgeting for entertainment
- 45 NIS for a movie ticket
- 100 – 400NIS for live shows, local artists, theater and symphony
- 300 – 1,500NIS for concerts with 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.
- 55 NIS for MacDonald’s combo meal
- 20 NIS for a falafel (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 (fries are sometimes extra)
- 60 – 70 NIS for a large salad (enough for 2)
- 120 NIS for a breakfast for 2 is a restrocafe
- 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.
As of September 2012 fees for children attending municipal kindergartens, from age 3, were lifted.
Minimum Wage or Salary in Israel as at August 2021
|On an hourly basis (not including overtime rates)||28.00NIS|
|On a monthly basis (not including overtime rates)||5,300NIS|
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