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 2019, claiming a cost of living higher than both Paris and London.

Wages in Israel tend to be low, despite the fact that the government offers 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.

After a period of heavy property investment, causing the cost of buying and renting in Israel to increase significantly over the past decade, the property market has stabilised. Despite this, many young couples still struggle to earn enough to surpass the financial barriers placed on entering the housing market.

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 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 March 2020

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

ILS 12,000

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

ILS 18,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

ILS 8,500

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

ILS 13,000

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

ILS 14

Milk (1 litre)


Rice (1kg)


Loaf of white bread


Chicken breasts (1kg)

ILS 36

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

ILS 38

Eating out

Big Mac meal

ILS 55


ILS 10


ILS 12

Bottle of beer (local)    

ILS 30

Bottle of beer (imported)

ILS 32

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

ILS 150

Utilities/household (monthly)

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

ILS 0.25

Internet (Uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) 

ILS 100

Basic utilities (Average per month for standard household)

ILS 820


Taxi rate/km 

ILS 3.50

Bus fare in the city centre       


Gasoline (per litre)


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