If you're not yet living in Israel and thinking of making Aliyah - you'll need an introduction into the housing market. To clarify one thing, this blog is about sharing things as they are. We don't hide anything - and want to make it clear, we're here to help and assist. Mostly this blog is real because we understand what being a real person is all about - when it comes to making as large a move as coming to live in the Land of Israel.
As for housing, everyone knows you can either buy or rent - but few acknowledge the real costs involved. Having watched a variety of forums said to assist one in making Aliyah I've personally seen a two-sided approach. There are those who are a part of the "haves" who have little mercy when it comes to acknowledging the needs of those others who are a part of the "have nots." Though this is not the place for discussing the actual costs of purchasing a home, a brief look at some of the main sites on the Internet sharing prices throughout all Israel points to the need of being exceptionally wealthy to be able to own one's home in Israel. For those from the USA they have the advantage (even with the lower dollar!) that their money goes up. Those from such locations as South Africa (and there really are those type of people living here!) receive far less for their any money they have earned overseas. In perspective, an American coming to Israel with $100 000 will at least have some ₪350 000 to use in purchasing a home. A South African coming with R100 000 will have all of ₪30 000 to his name. On a basic home of one million shekels it is clear, the American will have an advantage. He will never understand the South African. Let alone one who arrives with literally nothing and who is tied in to a minimum wage job paying just over ₪4000 per month!
Back to our survey... What's fascinating regarding the responses of the "haves" is their very often angry feelings towards those of the "have nots", as they feel that having usually comes about through starvation, deprivation and a variety of other "important good attributes" to master. I was personally told by a young lady of about 22 recently married, who explained that she and her husband were able to make the down-payment on their home by purchasing food that was on special only. She maintained this behaviour for all of about the two to three months of her engagement and was able to pay some 350 000 Shekel (at least as I had calculated it) towards her new home. She suggested we do the same.
Recently I heard of another young family man who had managed to save his down-payment up by simply eating bread for breakfast, lunch and supper and treating himself to eggs once a week! I'm not sure how long he went on like this for, and he didn't share how much he was actually making nor his job, but on that minimum wage job - even without eating, renting, using communications, transport, medication, clothing and other necessities, one could save the necessary deposit if one maintained this for about 10 years at the very least (for a very small room/apartment,) let alone he did it by just eating bread!
In vain I had tried finding some sort of comfort from someone who would speak the truth about how one can ever raise the sort of money needed for a down-payment without either having worked seriously hard beforehand and earned it (perhaps overseas) or by being given a gift (something which I felt well applied to the first young lady in the story above!)
For the rest of us - we are subjected to the rental market. It's a jungle out there. But don't believe me. I haven't actually done the liquid-only diet for three months to say honestly that I'm not able to come up with the huge deposit money. I heard this interview just last night and was most grateful to hear a Minister of the Knesset (MK) speaking about HIS own battle in owning his own apartment and the terrible jungle out there in terms of rentals. It's a world where landlords may raise rents to their hearts' content. They may throw one out onto the street (literally) when payment does not come through (forget the law so many will tell you about!) Rental homes can be anything from a hole to a place with three walls. Mold may be common and never attended to. Electricity fittings, windows and other home necessities may never be fixed - even before one moves in. But the renter has no choice - because if he cannot afford his own home and he needs a roof over his head, he must take whatever comes his way. Many never understand this. Many never see it - especially when they are overseas, and especially when they are already taken care of.
There needs to be some sort of law for rentals. Something that gives honour and respect to the renter as much as allows the landlord his opportunity of renting his home. There needs to be some sort of standardization. With some 2 million out of some 7 million people renting in Israel, the issue is an urgent one. The renting situation is draining the lower-earning individual from every shekel he owns - all at the expense of his health and his ability to ever save for buying his future home. Yes, it's a jungle!
Don't believe me. Take a listen to this powerful interview and get another realistic look at things. I hardly believe Minister Hilik Bar has ever considered the liquid/bread diet only, but I'm sure if it was realistic, he might let listeners know more about it. If nothing else, at least he could also own his own apartment!
Just click here to be taken to TLV1 radio and listen to "I'm an MK, I'm a tenant and I want the law to protect tenants rights."