The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

The price we will all still pay: when the cost of living breaks up the family - Walla! Of money


A week in Lisbon clarified not only the incredible gap in supermarket prices, but in the city mournful reflections on the implications of the cost of living on the most important Israeli institution: the family

  • Of money

  • Opinions

The price we all still have to pay: when the cost of living breaks up the family

A week in Lisbon clarifies not only the unbelievable gap in supermarket prices, but above all raises melancholy reflections on the implications of the cost of living on the most important Israeli institution: the family.

What has so far been expressed in small concessions on the standard of living, is becoming an existential threat - if not for Israel, then for Israeliness


  • Lisbon

  • Tel Aviv Jaffa

  • Portugal

  • Israel

  • Hi-Tech

  • Cost of living

Nir Kipnis

Saturday, 04 December 2021, 12:44 Updated: 13:14

  • Share on Facebook

  • Share on WhatsApp

  • Share on general

  • Share on general

  • Share on Twitter

  • Share on Email


Before we embark on a journey between the supermarket shelves in Lisbon, I will undertake that this is not another "Milky Price" article, that is - yes it is the cost of living in Israel compared to that of European and North American countries, which have always been our reference group. That it produces.

Now we will take the cart and fill it with some things. I swear to you that the first thing I did between the vegetable and fruit shelves, was to check if the price was per kilo or one hundred grams. I am probably already so accustomed to the absurd numbers of the market in Israel, that I did not believe that a Pink Lady apple for example, which in Israel can be found at prices starting from 16 shekels per kilo, costs about half the price.

The same is true of vegetables for soup: carrots, celery, potatoes, onions, parsley, pumpkin and zucchini. I am no longer talking about the quality, which does not see from a shower the vegetables that bear the same name in Israel (where are the days when we would mock the vegetables of the Europeans?), But mainly about the price: between a third and a half.

This is probably how it is when farmers compete with each other for price and quality in the free market and invest all their time and energy to grow (without Thais!) Vegetables and fruits - and not a lobby that terrorizes Knesset members and torpedoes any reform.

In the fish and meat departments, astonishment has become a shock: in Israel, the cheap fish start at a few tens of shekels and go up to a hundred shekels or more for the more expensive sea fish.

I am no longer talking about spawn, for those who eat, but even if you fancy a kilo of shrimp, which in my fish shop in Tel Aviv was 120 shekels per kilo, know that in Lisbon you will pay less than a quarter of a price for a kilo of gambas (and I'm talking about the big, meaty varieties).

I was quick to hang the difference on the local fish supply, but when I saw that the price of salmon, a fish to be imported in both countries, was less than half the price, I almost burst into tears - and so it went on, to the meats, frozen, canned and cheeses.

After we filled a cart with all the goodies, a matter of about 1,000 shekels in Israel, I rubbed my eyes in amazement at the cash register when the bill amounted to eighty euros.

Between a third and a half the price - and it's not even that I went to some discount center out of town: I did my shopping in the heart of Lisbon, in an area that is "half touristy".

If I had to compare to the supermarket closest to my home in the heart of Tel Aviv, the difference would have been much larger.

But I did not come to tell about the price, but about what he is doing to us in the second and third circles.

More on Walla!

The way to build muscle after a workout: What do you need to know about protein intake?

Cyclamen Arieli

To the full article

Fruits and Vegetables: Annoying to lose not only in price but also in quality (Photo: ShutterStock)

When the prime minister tells the truth

If you look at the average wage, the numbers somehow work out: the minimum wage is about 700 euros and the average wage is a little over 1,100 euros. In other words, it makes sense that the price of shopping in the supermarket will be between a third and a half of the prices in Israel, but wait, we are not done yet. Because our lives do not start and end in the supermarket - and this is where an unpleasant gap begins to open, especially when it comes to the housing section. A sore spot all over Europe, but not like in Israel.

I could add numbers on numbers here, but with your permission I will go straight to the bottom line:

in 2011 the Portuguese prime minister caused a stir when he publicly admitted that young Portuguese have no future in their homeland and really urged them to emigrate (indeed many followed his advice and abandoned their homeland). There does not seem to be a political leader in Israel who dares to make such a statement, but the reality to which politicians lead us does not need interpretation: the young people in Israel are discovering that they live in an impossible economic reality.

Hitechists are not to blame for the high cost of living, but the flourishing of Israeli high-tech also has negative consequences (Photo: ShutterStock)

High-tech is not to blame, but it is a cause

Much has been said about the impact of high-tech on the cost of living, just before we approach it, it is important to mention that high-tech is not "guilty", certainly not its employees who dedicate their time, energy and talent to creating a better world that generously rewards them. Were it not for the high-tech industry we might have been immersed to the neck in the economic crisis that the Corona has forced on ... Well, believe it or not: on almost any place other than Israel!

But the fact that so many young people earn huge sums that are often several times higher than in other industries, has made life in Israel impossible. Make no mistake, this is not a manifesto of equality, but an attempt to see the past. The free economy assumes that the well-being that high-tech imparts to its employees should also be reflected in the external circles: not only the lawyers, accountants and administrative staff who provide non-technological services to the technology industries benefit, but also the restaurant, barber, fashion store owner, cosmetics stand in the mall.

The problem is that the prices around are rising more than the wages of all the latter, so that although their income has improved nominally, its purchasing power has actually decreased in real terms.

Lack of waiters and kitchen workers, an example of the inability of restaurateurs to realize their business potential (Photo: ShutterStock)

Apartments can not be imported

In addition. There are industries that are unable to match supply to supply. Sometimes these are relatively small troubles. Remember we heard the restaurateurs complaining about a dramatic lack of kitchen staff and waiters? In fact, their complaint, in economic terms, was that they were unable to provide the supply needed to meet the rising demand (quantitative and qualitative, that is, both in the number of diners and in expenditure per diner) - and there is nothing more frustrating for a business owner than seeing how he fails.

We will continue on to the automotive industry. These are not just the traffic jams on the roads that do not need new vehicles, but mainly the supply chain malfunctions. We will not go into details, but only say that cars are an imported product - and when the manufacturer abroad is unable to meet demand, a situation has arisen where consumers in Israel are faced with frustrating waiting lists for a new car, which reflects on the used car market - and here, we found another point The shallow pocket was damaged.

And if in the transition from car to car, we switched from cold to lukewarm, then we have now reached the boiling point: housing prices.

Here the renewal of supply and its adjustment to demand is the slowest, even if we shorten the regulation and bureaucracy, we are dealing with a market that will take years until the stock is renewed. Add to that the Israeli demographics that break birth records - and you get a very unusual situation of dramatically rising demand, in the face of a supply that, as it grows, will not meet demand.

Now that we have gone through not only the vegetable, fish and dairy departments, but also the vehicle officer and contractor, we will start packing: life in Israel has become very expensive, especially for those outside the high-tech industry or close circles who enjoy it, and who do not belong to strong pressure groups. In some), permanent servants and more. A minimum wage of NIS 5,200 per month, even if it gradually increases to 6,000 (over years!) As promised, is not enough to exist, let alone - to live with dignity.

New buildings in the central area.

The price of housing is one of the most influential indicators of shattering the Israeli dream (Photo: Reuven Castro)

Yesterday's dreams

The young Israeli's ability to fulfill the dream - not of getting rich, God forbid - but of a dignified existence: an apartment with room for every child, a reasonable car, shopping in the supermarket and such a leisure budget that covers classes for children and here and there family entertainment - from a meal at a restaurant On the verge of collapse.

In order to purchase a residential apartment in a reasonable-plus neighborhood within a reasonable driving distance from his place of work, he will have to raise about two million shekels (and I'm not talking about Tel Aviv, of course). Even if he does so with the help of a convenient mortgage, the initial amount will be hundreds of thousands of shekels. When you add the car and the supermarket to this, it becomes an impossible task for an average-wage worker, even above it.

You may not leave your homeland and home because of money, but in the current reality, the young Israeli can not even leave his parents' home. At least there he will enjoy a free ESHL (at the expense of his parents' well-being in old age or at the expense of his inheritance ...) and will be able to invest his salary mainly in an improved lifestyle.

Remote work: you no longer have to live in Israel to earn a high wage in shekels (Photo: ShutterStock)

The reality of tomorrow

But here another variable enters the picture - and it is a relatively new variable. The transition to the online world has become a large part of the professions that can be done remotely. I'm not just talking about technology companies.

Also this column for example, I am now writing at home - and not in the Walla system. I have not physically seen my accountant since the Corona broke out, for me and for him any of us can work from Sydney or Massachusetts, as long as we report on time and legally - I as a taxpayer and he as a professional, to the tax authorities in Israel.

The day will not be far off and court hearings will also be conducted online - and there are industries that are already there with a foot and a half or at least half a foot: insurance, trading in a large part of the products and more.

What it means? Remember we said apartments could not be imported? Well - apartments may not be imported, but tenants can be exported: many of us can continue to work in Israel, but live in a place where this wage can buy much more


What began as a "digital nomad" that was reserved for a small layer of "geeks" may quickly become the domain of anyone who is not a production worker or farmer.

The State of Israel will lose its best young people: at first in Moshe who will be perceived as a kind of extension of the post-army trip to that of the post-university one, later on to a considerably full life.

The implications of all of these on issues such as national resilience, Jewish identity and more can be dramatic.

Many things in life can be given up for money, not this frame (Photo: ShutterStock)

The bill that no one will be able to pay

As long as the cost of living meant that because of the prices in the supermarket I would have to cut vacations abroad or postpone car replacement, for example - it was still possible to live with it in peace, overall, there is no substitute for a sense of belonging that only a homeland can (even in this age) provide. it meant will have grandchildren talk to me in a foreign language, and video call, a reality in which we meet maybe once a year, the price will be too heavy to bear.

the Portuguese was at least a head of government who was decent enough to declare so openly, somewhere ten years ago. I was ready to settle for life in Israel Even without a leader telling the unpleasant truth face to face.What is harder for me is with someone who throws at us wonderful macro numbers, without doing anything to change the catastrophic being lurking around the corner.

  • Share on Facebook

  • Share on WhatsApp

  • Share on general

  • Share on general

  • Share on Twitter

  • Share on Email


Source: walla

All business articles on 2021-12-04

Similar news:

You may like

Trends 24h

Business 2022-01-07T18:44:41.565Z


© Communities 2019 - Privacy