Most parking places in Israel are free. Car owners expect to have free parking near their homes, but is this also true when you are out and about? Not everyone has an easy time finding parking near their places of work, or shopping and entertainment centers. Like any other product or service that is in short supply, parking in city centers can be hard to find, and as a result, multiple parking garages have popped up over the years.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel is home to 10.1 million square meters of parking areas (that pay arnona property tax). The city that brings in the highest arnona revenues gathered from parking fees is Tel Aviv, with a whopping 1.1 million square meters of parking lots, which makes up 11% of all parking space in the entire country. Following are Herzliya (716,000 square meters), Netanya (685,000), Jerusalem (675,000), and Petah Tikva (626,000).

 Are Israelis able to find parking spots when they need them? For every car that exists in Israel, there are 3.8 square meters of space in parking lots available, not including street parking. In the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, there are 5 square meters of space per car in the 6,847,800 square meters of parking space, on which 68,000 residential apartments could be built. In Jerusalem, there are 3.7 square meters of parking space per car.

 The State charges parking garages some NIS 3 million per year in arnica taxes, which comes out to NIS 29 per square meter. In contrast, the average price offices pay per square meter is NIS 161. In Jerusalem, however, parking garages pay on average NIS 58 per square meter, (which is the highest rate among Israel’s large cities) and businesses in the capital pay NIS 315 per square meter. Considering the high arnica rates that businesses pay, it’s no surprise that a number of parking garages have been constructed on land zoned for office buildings. It is likely, though, that as public transportation options improve, the demand for parking spots in the capital will fall. However, don’t discount the likelihood that as long as parking is available, people will continue to travel to Jerusalem in their own cars instead of taking advantage of public transportation.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.