Cost of living in Israel higher than in US, Europe

While the cottage cheese boycott continues to rage, a Globes investigative poll finds Israelis pay almost double for essentials.

June 21, 2011 03:22
2 minute read.
Tel Aviv Farmers Market

Tel Aviv Farmers' Market 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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As the storm over rising food prices continues, a Globes investigation found that Israelis pay close to twice as much on essential products compared to US and European counterparts, when wages are taken into consideration.

The high cost of living is not restricted to products found on supermarket shelves, it said, with vehicles and telecommunications services among other products for which Israelis pay relatively more than abroad.

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“The situation is not black and white,” according to the report. “In many countries they pay more than us for gasoline, higher education and other things. Electricity prices in Israel are continually found to be reasonable compared to the rest of the world.”

“But when one takes into account the income of the average Israeli compared to their counterparts overseas, the picture is depressing,” it continued. “The average wage in the United States stands at around NIS 13,000 per month, and in the big cities at around NIS 17,000 per month (according to the federal government’s website); in Britain it stands at around NIS 15,000 per month, and in France at around NIS 16,000 per month. In Israel it is getting close to NIS 9,000 per month only (and that’s without mentioning the dramatic gaps in income distribution).”

One of the primary examples given of the difference in prices was gasoline, for which Israelis pay double that of Americans, and more than in most European countries, according to Globes.

In May, Israelis paid NIS 7.59 for a liter of self-service gasoline, less than in Germany (NIS 8.06), Italy (NIS 7.81) and the United Kingdom (NIS 7.71), the report said. But they paid more than in other European countries where wages are higher, such as Austria (NIS 7.00) – and far more than in Canada (NIS 4.17) and the US (NIS 3.52).

With respect to higher education, the average yearly cost of NIS 10,000 paid by Israelis was found to be more than in almost every European country, with the exception of Spain, where it costs NIS 16,740. In Germany, it costs NIS 5,600, while in many places – such as the Czech Republic, Slovak Republic and Sweden – higher education is free. The US is an obvious exception, the report said, citing an average yearly fee of NIS 51,600.

The cost of a new vehicle was also found to be double that of the United States.

Even in the field of cellular phones Israel was found to be more expensive than the US. Cellcom and Pelaphon charge NIS 175 and NIS 180, respectively, for 400-minute monthly packages; and Orange charges NIS 170 for 200 minutes, while stateside consumers pay as low as NIS 154 for allinclusive packages.

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