The cost of living in Israel varies depending on where in the country an expat decides to settle and what type of lifestyle they aspire to. Urban centres are more expensive than desert outposts or mountain towns. Tel Aviv, Israel's most cosmopolitan destination, was ranked 15th in Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2021, claiming a cost of living higher than both Paris and London.

Wages in Israel tend to be low, despite the government offering numerous incentives and salary subsidies to new immigrants in accordance with the process of aliyah (the right of return). Additionally, many expats feel that taxes in Israel are exorbitantly high, with both import taxes and excise taxes leaving buyers bearing the brunt of costs. 


Cost of accommodation in Israel

The cost of accommodation in Israel varies depending on location, but this will certainly be an expat's largest expense.

As most people in Israel, expats and locals alike, want to live in Tel Aviv, the economic centre of the country, the demand for housing is huge and there are not enough homes to meet the demand. The lack of an adequate transport system also means that people want to live close to the city centre and to work. Expats opting to live in the centre of Tel Aviv will pay dearly for their accommodation.  

That said, for the wallet weary, house-sharing is still a popular option and a great way to save money for those who don't mind living with strangers. 


Cost of food and entertainment in Israel

The cost of food in Israel is reasonable if eating in, but expensive if dining out. Fresh fruit and vegetables are cheap, whereas dry goods and meats can end up being on the expensive side. Thankfully, Israeli shopping culture supports haggling, so bargains can be found at markets. 

Evening entertainment, including going out for dinner or indulging in a drink or two after work can be costly. Tickets for the cinema, music concerts or other avenues of entertainment are similarly expensive. 


Cost of transport in Israel

Owning a car in Israel is extremely expensive. The Israeli government does offer benefits to new expats who decide to buy a car, but there are stipulations relating to the number of years the car must be owned and the number of people who can drive it. Petrol is becoming prohibitively expensive, and Israel has some of the highest taxes on buying vehicles. 

Most locals and expats use public transport to get around in Israel, which primarily consists of trains and buses. Fares vary depending on distance and the route travelled.

Individual inter-city taxis can be expensive but can be a good option for getting around in a large group. 


Cost of living chart for Israel

Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider and the list below shows average prices for Tel Aviv in September 2021. 

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

ILS 4,000 – 6,000

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

ILS 7,000 – 12,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

ILS 3,000 – 5,300

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

ILS 5,000 – 9,000

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

ILS 13.50

Milk (1 litre)

ILS 6

Rice (1kg)

ILS 10.40

Loaf of white bread

ILS 7.85

Chicken breasts (1kg)

ILS 37.40

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

ILS 35

Eating out

Big Mac meal

ILS 52.50

Coca-Cola (330ml)      

ILS 10.25

Cappuccino 

ILS 13.85

Local beer (500ml)    

ILS 30

Bottle of beer (imported)

ILS 32

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

ILS 300

Utilities/household (monthly)

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

ILS 0.15

Internet (Uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) 

ILS 103

Basic utilities (Average per month for standard household)

ILS 830

Transportation

Taxi rate/km 

ILS 3.50

Public transport fare in the city centre       

ILS 6

Gasoline (per litre)

ILS 6