The skyrocketing cost of living and record-breaking housing prices are dominating Israel’s public agenda to an unprecedented degree. These domestic issues have not been so prevalent since the mass 2011 social justice protests that drew hundreds of thousands of angry demonstrators and sidelined the country’s predominant security agenda, for a while. The spiraling cost of living is a legacy of the previous government, but under the current government, housing prices have ballooned to unprecedented levels. A steep 16% annual rise in the prices of new apartments has dashed the hopes of young Israelis to own their own home.
Israelis love to carp about the cost of living, and rightfully so. The prices of basic consumer goods and food are among the highest in the world. Tel Aviv enjoys an unenviable ranking as one of the world’s most expensive cities. Nonetheless, these problems have never swung Israeli elections. Israelis moan all the way to the ballot box, but then they invariably vote for candidates who provide them with the greatest sense of security.