Assessment: The city jumped from fifth to first place in the Economist’s ranking within a year, overtaking other expensive cities like New York and Paris, but what’s behind the soaring cost of living?
There are titles that one should not boast about. One of them is “the most expensive city in the world.” Yes, this title was given to Tel Aviv yesterday by the prestigious Economist magazine.
The city in the heart of Israel’s largest metropolitan area soared from fifth place last year to first place this year without looking back, thus surpassing not-really-cheap cities like Paris in second place and even New York.
To understand what this means, one only needs to read into years of warnings by travel agents around the world, along the lines of “you know, Israel is very beautiful, but also very expensive.”
And it turns out that Tel Aviv is more expensive than the rest of Israel. So why did Tel Aviv win the dubious title in the midst of the coronavirus crisis?
There’s a reason the city is also called the “State of Tel Aviv” around other parts of Israel because it is cut off from other cities and towns in the country. After all, where else will you find NIS 40 for an hour’s parking?
Where else will you travel through terrible traffic jams in a taxi for two miles in 50 minutes and pay NIS 100, which is more than $30?
Where else will you pay a maid 150 shekels per hour (yes, I’ve heard of such a price)? Because in Tel Aviv, as in Tel Aviv, everything goes. And if you do not have a parking space and you need to get to the court or the doctor urgently, you will also pay NIS 40 per hour.
Why? Very simple: because Tel Aviv was not planned to be the heart of a metropolis, numbering almost five million people, from Netanya to Gedera. Because Tel Aviv itself is actually a small city, with only 400,000 inhabitants, whose land reserves are running out.