If you are anything like me you like the independence of having your own car. Yes, Israel does have a pretty decent public transportation system but car ownership has a certain freedom which I enjoy.
First things first, if you want a new car then you need to have all the money up front. If you are a new Olim you will not be able to get a car loan until you have been in the land for 4 years. The possible exception to that would be if you have money in the bank and the bank loans against that money in a savings account. I’m sure there are other exceptions. This is just what I have encountered and was told.
Another thing you might want to know when thinking about a vehicle purchase is that people here don’t always respect your car. I have seen many new cars with dents and scratches; which to me would be very upsetting considering the cost of a new car.
One time while in Tel Aviv my husband and I were going down a side street and we saw a car park in a spot that was too small for it. It was like watching a tv show. He banged the car in the back and banged the car in the front, just for a spot. We were both astonished by this behavior. As we say, “Only in Israel.”
I did write a blog about getting your drivers license here.
When purchasing a car you need to shop. Know what you are looking for and price them. Prices can very several thousand shekels for the same make and year car; so know what you are getting. Nothing too much to know as far as purchasing. Make sure if you don’t know about cars you get it checked out. Ask to see the car maintenance ledger. Certain cars are taxed less if they are purchased in Eilat. Title transfer fee is 300NIS cash done at the post office.
You might pay as much for your Car Insurance as your car depending on where you purchase it. There are 3 parts to car insurance. The first part is required by law. The 2nd and 3rd part are not required but may be recommended. In all, you may pay 2,500 NIS or more for car insurance.
In Israel all cars are required to go through an annual inspection. The cost ranges a little based on the size of the vehicle. I believe it starts around 1,200 shekels. Plus the small 100 NIS fee you pay for the inspection.
When purchasing a car it is good to know when the inspection date is. Some people try to unload their cars before the inspection date because they don’t want to fix something or pay inspection. If a car doesn’t have a current inspection it is better to stay away from it and move on to the next one. If it’s January and the inspection isn’t due until August or September, that’s good.
Parking stickers are very necessary in Israel. This country loves to give parking tickets! I never had any in my life of driving 45 years until I came to Israel. Each city municipality has a parking sticker for free or purchase. It’s worth it to purchase it. One ticket is at least 100 NIS. Unfortunately, here in Israel you don’t see many parking meter boxes where you pay for a timed ticket to place in your car window; there are some but not many, especially in Tel Aviv/Jaffa. They have a program called Pango you download on your phone, you have to have it set it up and activate it every time you park somewhere there is the parking sign. I was told that there is supposed to be a new system to come out where you can purchase a card at a convenience store and add money to it. This is especially good for tourist because Pango requires you to have a Tuedot Zeut. If you have to go into one of the large cities like Tel Aviv most people drive to the outskirts park in a proper parking zone and bus into the city or walk. Some things are easier to do on foot in these places.
**Freebie – In Israel if you have two cars in your name and you need to have some form of assistance from Bitach Leumi you will not get it. Just something to keep in mind.
Driving in Israel is safe and they have nice highways in most places. There are some places you cannot get to unless you have a car. It is an individual choice. Of course, as Israeli’s there are some places we cannot drive and there are huge signs telling you where you cannot enter. Enough said on that.
One last thing, bicycling in Israel is nice just remember there are hills and mountains here. It is nice to have the bikes with the batteries on them to get up those hills. This is also another popular option for getting around the city. If you have a bike and you were considering bringing it to Israel do so. Bikes here are rather expensive.