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October 13, 2015 | 30th Tishrei 5776

Cost of Living

May 4, 2003
Marc Rosenstein

People often ask me “if things are expensive in Israel.” That is obviously not a simple question. I thought it might be useful, for trying understanding what it is like to live here, to give some everyday numbers (rounded off, and based on the current exchange rate of about 4.6 shekels per US dollar):

Minimum wage: $3.90 per hour, about $700/month gross
Average gross salary: $1380/month

Average household income:
Top 10% of families: $8,500/month gross
Median: $2,200
Bottom 10% of families: $700

In middle tax brackets, about 20% is deducted for income tax

Modest new house (1,300 square feet on a 5,000 square foot lot) in the Galilee: $165,000; a co-op apartment in a development town costs less; apartments in the large cities - more.

Old two bedroom apartment, in a decent but not upscale neighborhood in Tel Aviv: $600/month; in a smaller town like Karmiel or Beersheba - $350
Monthly local real estate tax: $0.05 per square foot of house

New Toyota sedan or equivalent: $25,000.

A year’s university tuition: $2,400 (no, I didn’t leave off a zero)
Local day care center, one year: $4,000

Gallon of gasoline: $3.70
Pound of tomatoes: $0.35; cucumbers: $0.18
Pita or roll: $0.20
Quart of milk: $0.85
Felafel sandwich: $2.80
Can of soda: $1.35
Family-size pizza: $10
Meal in a “nice” restaurant: $30 per person

Movie: $7
Haircut: $11
Pair of shoes: $100 and up
Printed T-shirt: $10
Monthly subscription to internet server: $14
Shabbat flowers: $3
Bed and breakfast for two at a kibbutz guest house: $65
VCR: $250

Local bus fare in large cities: $1.10
Bus from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv (45 minute ride): $4.35
Train from Acco to Beersheba (3 hours): $11
Typical cross-town cab fare in large city: $6


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