Tzevet Klita believes that it is important for all new olim to learn how to arrange and pay their kvutsa’s bills – rather than relying on a madrich or sabra friend – as a very important step on the path towards becoming a capable and independent Israeli who feels comfortable enough navigating basic bureaucratic aspects of life and is not so easily rattled. Bills that every kvutsa will have to pay include rent (covered in the apartment section), arnona (municipal tax), electricity, water, phone and internet, and many will also pay for house insurance and gas. Below are explanations of all of these.
Electricity: is paid every two months to hevrat hahashmal either via credit card on the internet or cash or check at the post office. The highest electricity-using appliances in your home are mostly likely the dud (hot water heater), air-conditioners/heaters, and the kumkum (kettle). To save electricity and money, use these sparingly and unplug things you are not using such as cell phone and computer chargers, and don’t heat more water than you need in the kettle.
Transfer your apartment’s bill to your name by calling 103 while standing next to your apartment’s electricity meter.
Arnona: is property tax paid to the city you live in, based on the square meters of your apartment and what neighborhood you live in. Bills are paid every two months either via credit card on the internet or via check or cash at the post office. Olim who are signatories on the rental agreement are entitled to 12 months of reduced arnona (70-90% discount) during the first two years after making aliyah. Ktinim Hozrim are not eligible. If you can manage to plan ahead, try to put only two or so olim with this eligibility on the contract per year, and maybe you can stretch out your kvutsa’s discount for 3 or so years. Lone soldiers ((חיילים בודדים are also eligible.
Arranging transfer of the arnona from the former residents of your apartment, and making sure you get your discounts, will involve some work:
To The Haifa Arnona has a hotline at 1-700-700-060, open Sun-Thurs from 7:30am-2:30pm.
The office is at Rehov Hassan Shukri 11, open Sun-Thurs 8am-2pm.
This is a link to the form for an oleh discount. You will also need the teudot oleh of olim on the contract and a copy of the contract.
Water: Water prices are completely ridiculous and may cost your kvutsa hundreds of shekels per month. You can pay your bill by credit card on the internet or at the post office with cash or check.
To transfer your apartment’s water bill to your name, you should be able to fax or email your rental agreement to Mei Carmel at fax: 04-8356035 or email@example.com. Call them to confirm at 1-800-100-104. If you want to visit in person, it’s at the same place as the Arnona: Hassan Shukri 11. What you pay is based on how many people you say live in the house. You get an allotment and you pay more for each liter over your allotment
Phone: In 2012, the government broke the relative market monopoly and phone plans became much cheaper. Shop around, you can get great deals. Usually, however, these new deals do not include a phone. If you have an unlocked phone from abroad, bring it, you can use it here on your new plan.
At the airport when you land, the absorption ministry now gives temporary phones to new olim. The rates are not good, get a new plan ASAP.
House Insurance: Is optional, but we recommend getting it. When Aseef lived in Netanya, their house got broken into and two old laptops were stolen. The insurance company paid very reasonable amounts for both. AIG has reasonable rates.
Internet: Recently, the relative monopoly in the internet market was broken, so you may be able to find a plan for as little as 100 shekels per month. The company will give you a router, and you can pay more per month for a wireless router. Confusingly, you can find plans that are a combination of two companies, one for the infrastructure (תשתית) and one for the service provider (ספק) . Deals and sales change all the time, so shop around. This may require lots of annoying phone calls.
Gas: If your apartment has a gas stove, your gas balloons (בלוני גז) will run out from time to time and have to be replaced. Generally, they come in pairs so when you empty one, you can use the other while you order a new one. Be sure to order new balloons promptly or you’ll end up with a useless stove sometime, surely just while preparing a really fancy big dinner. You can order new gas balloons to be delivered to your home by calling Paz Gas Haifa at 04-8515252. They are open from 8am-3pm most days of the week. The procedure is you order on the phone and pay by credit card or bank transfer, and then the delivery truck shows up at your house and installs the balloons – you don’t even have to be at home because the gas balloons are located outside.