Sunday, October 17th | 11 Heshvan 5782

May 10, 2015 10:59 am

‘Cost Obsessions’ From Israel to Iran: Camels, Cars and Kidneys

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

A map showing so-called 'cost-obsessions' by country in the Middle East. Photo:

Although Israel’s enemies might believe otherwise, it would appear most people around the globe perceive Israel to be a rather Middle Eastern country, at least as far as Google price-checking goes.

Economic blog has compiled a list of so-called “cost obsessions” by country, using a combination Google search and autocomplete. The phrase, “how much does a * cost in Israel,” for example, supposedly reveals “how certain places [namely, Israel] are perceived by people around the world.”

So according to this map, which commodity are people most often price-checking in Israel? The answer: a camel.

Now this might seem odd for a country whose military, technological, agricultural and scientific prowess are lauded worldwide, but the ungulate obsession is not unique to Israel.

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In Saudi Arabia too, land of Islam and oil, searching for camels was most common, as was it in tribal Afghanistan and in land of the pyramids, Egypt.

In Lebanon, meanwhile, most web browsers were interested in a PS3 (game console PlayStation 3, for those unacquainted).

In war-torn Syria, a staple “loaf of bread” was of more concern while in mostly Muslim Turkey, web browsers were most interested in the price of beer. And a Ferrari in glitzy United Arab Emirates, home of Dubai and man-made islands, drew most attention there.

In Iran, people wanted to know the price of a kidney: indeed the practice of selling one’s kidney is legal and government-regulated in the Islamic republic.

The interest in hooved beasts of burden stretched beyond the Middle East, though, as Google users most often searched for the price of a cow in India and Bangladesh, as well as in certain African states: Ethiopia and South Africa, among them.

The choices in the Middle East were certainly more wholesome than elsewhere in the world: in Brazil, Google users sought the price of a prostitute, in Korea, rhinoplasty, in Russia, flying a MiG, and in Western Africa’s Mauritania, shockingly, slaves.

Now, interested in doing a little fact checking ourselves here at the Algemeiner, we completed a quick search in Google using the aforementioned phrase for Israel, and we got the following choices: a meal, a coke (not specified what type), a house, then a camel, and finally a car – it appears to reveal rather Western concerns in the Jewish state, with just a hint of the humpback orient.

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