Moving to Israel

Expats moving to Israel do so for various reasons. Many are attracted by the culture or faith, while others are drawn to the vibrant economy and thriving technology sector.

Uniting these disparate motivations is likely an intense and never-neutral part of the experience of living in Israel. The country evokes passionate responses from people, and expats moving to Israel should expect far more political and emotional wrangling than other foreign countries might provide.

Even though its landmass is actually smaller than the US state of New Jersey, there are around 8.5 million people living in Israel. It is the world's only official Jewish state, and a huge proportion of the population is Jewish. Due to a continuous influx of immigrants over the years, the population is diversified with Arab, American, European, Russian, Asian, and African nationalities. The official languages in Israel are Hebrew and Arabic. English is spoken widely, especially in urban areas and in businesses, and is the country's unofficial third language.

Although safety can be a concern in certain areas of the country, expats in Israel are generally free of this concern and tend to live in one of its main cities, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Be'er Sheva.

Israel’s modern and diverse market economy is built on several industries, including agriculture, biotechnology, construction, electronics, information technology, manufacturing, telecommunications and tourism.  As such, expats working in Israel tend to find employment in these industries. Israel’s technology industry, in particular, has attracted massive foreign investment. With this influx of capital, ample opportunities for talented and qualified expats have subsequently arisen.

Although the cost of transport and food in the country is reasonable, high accommodation costs and low salaries compared to other developed countries means that the cost of living in Israel can be high. Despite Israeli public schools being both free and of a generally high standard, many expats send their children to international schools, as the language of instruction in public schools is Hebrew. Tuition for international schools is high, further increasing the cost of living for expats with children. 

Israelis are very proud of their achievements in building an innovative and multi-cultural state. Expats who can adapt to Israel's unique, and often tense, political circumstance will be able to experience a life which is both varied and full of flavour.