See also: car rental

Driving in Israel:

Be careful! Drivers here can be quite aggressive (lots of speeding & cutting off) and accident rates are relatively high.
The roads can be very confusing. Some road signs are slightly less than accurate. Expect to get lost. Use Waze, google maps, a gps, a map whatever. Or I guess you could ask for directions.
There is no right on red in Israel! There is yield on red only when there is a dedicated right-turn lane with a pedestrian island & flashing pedestrian warning light. You will get a huge fine if caught. Always watch for pedestrians!
On the major highways there are cameras on the traffic lights. The first-time fine for running a light (which is easier than it sounds because of traffic conditions) is 1,000 NIS.
The West Bank/East Jerusalem: Be aware that your insurance may not cover driving there, so check your policy. It’s always prohibited in Israeli rental cars. Exercise caution.
Kvish 6 is the major highway that runs through Israel. It is an automatically billing toll road and you will be charged for each trip. A bill will be sent to the owner of the car, or if a rental, it will be passed to the renter with an extra fee. ***Failure to pay within 30 days results in 100% fee increase. If you own a car, you can set up an account which will charge your credit card directly. You will also get a discounted rate.
Parking: In cities and developed areas, you may only park where the curb is unpainted (free) or blue/white stripes (metered). All meters in Israel are controlled by the Pango Parking System – you call *4500 and follow the menu to pay, or download the smartphone app. If you own a car you can set up an account to speed up the process. In Tel Aviv, some of the metered parking is for local residents only, and without the proper sticker you will be ticketed. All Red/White and Red/Yellow painted curbs are strict no-parking zones.

Owning a car:

Although owning a car is in no way essential given the network of trains, buses, and taxis, every year a few students buy cars. It’s particularly convenient as all public transportation stops on Shabbat. There are a number of distinct positives and negatives; carefully consider your lifestyle and budget and decide if it is right for you.
Here are some key points to help you decide:
Can you afford it? Really look at your budget. Cars are very expensive in Israel!! New ones have more than 100% tax applied to the price, and a cheap 'student' car- i.e. anything under $2,000 USD will be an older (mid to late 1990’s) compact manual. These older cars generally need to be serviced regularly - you might end up with a real money pit.
Gas is around $7-9 USD/gallon! Side note: it's always appropriate to offer gas money to drivers!
Cost of insurance (see below) is ~2700 NIS per year
Take your time deciding if you really need one. You may find that the public transportation and an occasional rental comfortably meet your needs.
Sharing a car: A very good way to reduce costs and financial risks. But you wouldn't adopt a child with someone you don't know… Okay this might be an exaggeration but the same principle applies. It is really important that you get along well and fully understand how you plan to use the car and pay for things. It's much easier if you live together.
Manual vs. automatic. Manual cars are much more common outside the US, including Israel. It’s a good idea to know how to drive a manual.
So you've decided to buy a car - mazel tov!
Finding a car
You can look on the classified sites, such as
A good option is to look around. People selling their cars will post a sign in the window.
Departing third-year students often sell their cars to MSIH students - the end of your first year is a good time to buy.
Buying the car
Meet with the owner and go on a loooooooong test drive!
It is absolutely essential that you go for a thorough inspection at a mechanic you have chosen. Get an estimate for any work that needs to be done or will likely need to be done in the future. Make sure you have a fluent Hebrew speaker present!
For used cars you can pay with cash and sometimes checks.
You and the owner need to go together to the registry and transfer the car to your name for a one time ~200 NIS fee.
Maintaining the car
Annual inspections are mandatory and cost around 100 NIS. You must display an up to date sticker on your windshield or you can get fined.
You need to renew the car registration annually (~1000 NIS) before your inspection. You can go online in English:
Emek Sara is an automotive industrial park off of route 40 on the southern outskirts of Beer Sheva. There are many mechanics and an inspection center.
Adam at Ya’av Car Center, Hapoalim 21, Beer Sheva, is an English speaking mechanic. 052-4533-787. The garage is set back from the road on the right.
Car Owner’s Insurance
It is mandatory in Israel but luckily, less expensive than in the US. There are several components of each insurance policy:
The Chova is a legal requirement, and the cost is governed by the type of vehicle, age of drivers, accident history, air bags and usage. The Chova covers unlimited liability coverage for bodily injury to the driver, passengers and pedestrians. Each car covers its own passengers irrespective of who is at fault.
The Makif covers any damage to your vehicle and any 3rd party vehicle up to a value of approximately 400,000 NIS. It also covers any depreciation on the market value of your car as a result of an accident.
Tzad Gimel just covers damage to a 3rd party. It does not cover damage to your own vehicle.
Towing insurance is like AAA and is purchased through the car insurance broker. If your car breaks down anywhere in Israel, it’ll be towed to Beer Sheva.
Most students choose to get Chova + Tzad Gimel + Towing insurance. The prices are about 1700 NIS, 800 NIS, & 200 NIS respectively. Most student cars are either too old to qualify for Makif coverage or it is prohibitively expensive. The Tzad Gimel is strongly recommended in case you have a fender bender with a fancy Mercedes!
Several students have used Liat Nitzan for insurance - she speaks good English and makes the process very easy. You’ll need to email her some basic personal information and photo/scan of the car’s registration then she’ll send you proof of insurance by email and snail mail. Contact: 052-528-5888 li.oc.noisivten|2ztin#li.oc.noisivten|2ztin