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Real Estate Facts That Will Surprise You in Israel

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Every Israeli apartment should have a mamad. An alternative to it can be a house-wide mamak. Locals hang a mezuzah hanging at the entrance to the house, and they live in sukkahs for a week a year. Immigrants can apply for mashkantas. This is not just a set of letters, it is an integral part of the life of every Israeli.

Most of the Apartments Have 3-4 Bedrooms

Typical Israeli housing is very spacious and always has a minimum of three bedrooms (there are more than 80% of such apartments in the country) and at least 80 sq.m size. This is the main housing stock, and it was built in the 50-70s of the last century. Later, they began to build four- and five-room apartments, and they still adhere to this standard of construction.

The explanation is simple: Israelis have a cult of a family with lots of children. In some cases, even the three-piece turns out to be tight!

If the description includes half a room (for example, a 3.5-room apartment), it is assumed that the apartment has a dining corner. This is a 4-5m space adjacent to the kitchen or living room, where they put a dining table.

A standard two-bedroom apartment looks like this: the entrance door leads directly to a spacious living room, from which you can get to two small bedrooms and a kitchen. Large apartments are built on the same principle. Other types of layouts can be found in atypical buildings like cottages and villas.

Of course, there are different types of apartments with one-two bedrooms on the market, but  in percentage terms it's just a few. They are in demand among single people or childless couples. Such compact housing can be found in the seaside complexes of Tel Aviv. However, prices for 25-50m properties in them are sometimes even higher than for multi-room apartments in residential areas.

Immigrants are Given Preferential Mortgage Loans

A preferential mortgage for new immigrants in Israel is called mashkanta. They issue it for the purchase of an apartment, a house or a plot of land for construction.

Mashkanta differs from a standard mortgage with more favorable conditions:

  • the loan is granted for a period of 15 to 30 years;
  • the bank covers up to 75% of the cost of housing;
  • the mortgage rate does not exceed 3%.

Under this program, the state repays 15% of the cost of housing for 15 years (1% per year). If the property was not sold during this time, you do not need to return the money. Otherwise, the person is obliged to return 17% to the state.

You can get a mashkanta only if you have your own capital (from 25% to 50% of the amount) and official income.

According to the law, the return on mashkanta can not exceed 45% of the monthly income. That is, with a net income of 10,000 shekels ($3,100), the maximum return will be 4,500 shekels ($1,400).

Also read: How Real Estate Transactions Work in Israel

Apartments Do Not Have an Entrance Hall

The vast majority of Israeli apartments do not have an entrance hall. From the entrance you immediately get into a large living room. Outerwear and street shoes are left in the same place.

The fact is that the square meters of the hallway do not have a housing value, but they affect the total cost of the apartment. In order not to overpay for not the most useful meters, people simply do without them.

By the way, the living room is the place where Israelis spend most of their time. The bedrooms in the apartments are usually small (about 10 sq.m), so they are only there at night.

Houses and Apartments are Equipped With Bomb shelters

Mamad is a name of the security room, which 40% of Israeli apartments have. Residents of some houses make such a room common and equip it on the stairwells. In this case, the room is called mamak.

The bomb shelter is a room whose walls are made of reinforced concrete, the door is made of steel, and the windows are made of impact-resistant glass. It is forbidden to put bars on the windows, because this is a potential exit from the mamad. The area of the room should be at least 9 sq.m, and the ceiling height should be at least 2.5 m; there should also be electricity and communication points.

In general, mamad is an official requirement of the authorities, which has been in force since 1993. However, according to local media, only 800,000 apartments (out of more than 2 million) across the country are equipped with them.

They need mamads, so that people can escape from rocket fire. Especially important is the presence of such shelters in southern cities (Sderot, Ashkelon, Netivot) and other border areas that are most often subjected to shelling.

There is Always a Mezuzah Hanging on the Door Jamb

A mezuzah is a small roll of parchment or the skin of a kosher animal, which is rolled up into a tube and placed in a narrow case. Jews hang it in the upper third of the right jamb of the entrance door. By the way, the word "mezuzah" in Hebrew means the jamb itself.

The scroll contains 15 verses from the Torah. It is important that the text is applied by an experienced religious soifer (scribe).

The mezuzah is hung only in a residential building, including in a rented one, no more than 30 days are given for this. When entering commercial establishments or temporary buildings, you will not see this religious object.

Mezuzah
Source: en.wikipedia.org (retardstrength.net)

Practical Design is Preferable

In most of the local houses and apartments, there are either no window sills at all, or they are so narrow that they perform a purely nominal function. That is, it will not work to use them as a stand for pots with flowers. Flowers are placed on the floor or on an external window sill.

The walls are not covered with wallpaper, instead they are plastered, whitewashed or painted with light paint. This is due to the hot and humid climate, the color and pattern of the wallpaper quickly fade in the scorching sun, and they also swell. Less often, the walls are decorated with bricks.

Israelis rarely take baths, and many houses have only a shower cabin or even only a shower with a drain in the floor. This is explained by economy: the country does not have its own sources of fresh water, its reserves are replenished only during the rainy season (from October to March). This affects the cost of utilities: lying in a full bath is a luxury.

The floors of the Israeli dwelling are covered with ceramic tiles, which do not care about high temperature, high humidity, or the ubiquitous sand that is carried by the wind straight from the desert. Linoleum, parquet and laminate are not popular, carpets are even less so.

Apartments often have two balconies. One is sunny, well-maintained, decorative, where people go out to breathe the air and admire the views. The second one is technical: very small, there is enough space for a washing machine and utility cabinets. Access to the technical balcony is usually from the kitchen or bathroom.

Curtains are rarely used, mainly thick blinds, and outside there is also a mosquito net. In new houses, the blinds are mostly electric. In older apartments they are mechanical.

In multi-room apartments (from three rooms) there are two bathrooms. One is combined with a shower, the other is separate. If an apartment has 4-5 bedroom, then there may even be three toilets.

The windows are of different sizes – in the living room they are very large, sometimes even panoramic, but in the bedrooms they install single-leaf analogues. Very tiny windows can be seen in the bathroom.

Apartment buildings are built so that the windows face on two sides. This is done for the sake of a draft.

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For a Week People Live on the Street Every Year

Despite the spaciousness and comfort of Israeli houses and apartments, people leave them for a week during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. It is based on the story of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. According to the legend, during his wanderings in the Sinai desert, God surrounded the believers with "clouds of glory", hiding them from the scorching sun. These "clouds" are meant by the word "sukkah".

Today, a sukkah is a name of a hut, in which you have to live for seven days. Life outside the usual walls is both a reference to the biblical story about wandering, and an opportunity to give up material goods for the sake of spiritual development.

Certain requirements are put forward for huts: they must be built with the hands of the owner and be in the open air. Ideally, people eat here, spend time with their family, receive guests and even sleep. If the weather is not conducive to spending nights in a hut, it is allowed to go home for the night. However, you need to come to the sukkah every day, spend time there and be sure to eat.

The length and width of the sukkah should be at least 70 cm, and the height from the ground to the roof should be at least 80 cm and not more than 10 m. The roof itself should be thick and made of plants. During the day, there should be more shade in the hut than sunlight. But the cracks are needed so that the stars can peek through them at night.

And it is also customary to decorate the sukkah with fruits, pictures and curtains.

Sukkah
Source: toldot.ru, en.wikipedia.org (Zachi Evenor и Effi B.)

On the Importance of Shabbat

In Judaism, Saturday is the day of the Sabbath. A day on which Jews are not allowed to work. If earlier the list of prohibited activities included plowing, reaping, hauling sheaves, grinding, today it is a lot of everyday activities. Among them - turning the electricity on, washing, and even using the phone!

To prevent Jews from making unnecessary movements, even elevators in Israeli houses are programmed for independent work on the Sabbath. So, people do not even need to press the call button or the desired floor, because the system automatically stops the elevator on each floor.

There are even refrigerators with a "Saturday Mode" button, which turns off all the light bulbs and sensors that light up when the door is opened.

Quoting conditions of Prian.info materials

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