Israel has one Ikea (in Netanya), and this store probably attracts more Israeli pilgrims each year than the Kotel. I've been there once, and I barely found parking twenty minutes before the store was to officially open. The restaurant features Swedish meatballs and Israeli salad. Our Ikea gets all the same products as other Ikeas, so it's kind of fun to be able to buy a cheap wok and look at the same sofas I see on American design blogs. (Yes, I read home decorating blogs. I am a woman of many obessions, or perhaps of too much free time. :)
The bad news is that according to the Ikea Billy Bookshelf price index, Ikea products here are more expensive than anywhere else in the world. Our Billy Bookshelf costs the equivalent of 103 US dollars, compared to 59 dollars in the US. I knew our prices were expensive here, but... that's ridiculous. We even beat Kuwait, and prices in Europe look cheap by comparison. The Billy Shelf costs only about $60 in Japan! I think Ikea might have the reputation of being a little more up-scale in Israel than it actually is, although maybe the fact that almost all our furniture is made from cheap particle-board also raises the Ikea profile. Seriouly, though, Israelis tend to overestimate the quality of things that come from chul. The GAP recently opened a store in Israel, and Israelis act as if it's Ralph Lauren.
I'm going to stick to www.yad2.co.il for most of the furniture in our new apartment.
Still, I went to Ikea about a month ago and found a fun office chair in the scratch-and-dent section, which I went on to cover in fabric that's even more fun. My chair is featured today on the cool blog Ikea Hacker (which features creative modifications of Ikea products), so check it out! (More pictures on the Ikea Hacker site.)
Have you had any adventures in Israeli Ikeas? Can you vouch for the craziness? Why do you think Ikea products are so expensive here?
Ali Abunimah, Expert On Mental Illness
3 hours ago