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Earn half, pay double

February 19, 2011

Like most Saturday afternoons spent with family, this one also involved perusing a stack of tangible paper publications. Israelis love to read, and they especially love to read the news. In the past, I’ve posted about learning new vocabulary thanks to such afternoons, but not as much about the content of the articles themselves.

Price comparison between Israeli and British commoditiesAn article in one of the newspapers talked about the reasons why there will never be a revolution in Israel the way there have been in other countries in the region over the past few weeks, even though there’s plenty of reason to be dissatisfied. This chart to the right caught my eye because it detailed a lot of the issues that have confused me since arriving here by comparing British and Israeli commodity prices and salaries.

People here tend to have much lower salaries than places like the US or the UK, on average — in fact, elementary school teachers in Israel earn less than half what teachers in other OECD countries earn (less than $20,000 per year, in fact, even with 15 years seniority). According to the article pictured here, the average Israeli salary is 8,200 shekels per month ($2,260) compared to 12,000 shekels ($3,306) in the UK.

But at the same time, things cost significantly more. A liter of milk in Israel costs 4.46 shekels ($1.23) on average compared to 3.50 shekels ($0.96) in Britain; a liter of olive oil costs ₪45 ($12.40) in Israel and ₪30 ($8.26) in Britain; and the really shocking one: a Toyota Yaris costs ₪103,000 ($28,375) in Israel and ₪63,000 ($17,355) in Britain — and under $13,000 in the U.S.!

So how can people manage to pay so much more for everything despite earning significantly less without demanding that things change? I’m still trying to figure that out.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2011 7:01 pm

    I’ve been aware of how things are expensive despite the low salaries here in Israel but it’s almost depressing and astounding to see it in clear writing like that! I really don’t understand how everyone does it either. At least I live in an area where living costs are not so high. And as we speak the inflation is causing food prices to go up by the second, it seems!

Trackbacks

  1. Earn half, pay double: Part 2 « From 外人 to גוי
  2. 136 « much love, kaori – letters from Israel

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