TA most expensive city in Middle East

According to recent survey, the Big Orange is costlier than the Big Apple.

tel aviv good 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
tel aviv good 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Tel Aviv is the 14th most expensive city to live in and has a higher cost of living than New York City, according to a recent survey by Mercer, a human resources consulting firm. The survey, which ranked the cost of living in 143 cities worldwide according to the relative prices of 200 basic commodities, gave Tel Aviv a cost index of 105 compared to the New York index of 100, set as the survey's baseline. Last year Tel Aviv came in 17th with a cost index of 97.7 and has now been ranked as the most expensive city in the Middle East for the second straight year. Despite the supposed rise in prices in Israel's largest metropolitan area, some American students with summer internships in Tel Aviv are not feeling the financial crunch. Mike Kaplan, a senior at the University of Michigan who is working at the Arba Finance firm in Tel Aviv, said that he lives on a similar budget here to that in the US, though he feels that costs in Tel Aviv are higher than in the rest of Israel. "I can't say that prices are much higher [in Tel Aviv] than in the States," said Kaplan, who is renting an apartment this summer. "I'm paying the same price for housing in Tel Aviv that I am in Michigan." Ben Bokser, a student who lives in New York City during the year, said that keeping kosher is more affordable in Tel Aviv than in New York. "Food is definitely cheaper here, especially in terms of groceries and falafel, and for someone who keeps kosher, food is much cheaper," he said. Bokser added, though, that the city's high ranking may result from the high cost of gas, as many Tel Aviv residents commute to work by car. "The average person in Tel Aviv drives a car," he said. "Gas is more expensive here than in America, and a higher percentage of people commute by car than by public transportation." Tel Aviv's high rate of tourism, according to Kaplan, may also be responsible for the rise in cost. "You pay a heavier price to enjoy yourself here," he said. "You have a high number of tourists, and Israelis like to come to Tel Aviv. It's the New York of Israel. The farther you get into the city the higher prices are going to be." As in the past two years, Moscow ranked as the most expensive city in the world this year with an index of 142.2, followed by Tokyo and London. New York ranked 22nd, and cities such as Mumbai, India and Riga, Latvia ranked in the top 50, reflecting what experts from Mercer see as a trend of rising living costs in Eastern European and Indian cities, while US cities get cheaper. Experts attributed this trend to the fall in the value of the dollar, coupled with the rise in cost of petroleum and food.