Israel is world’s 11th-happiest country, but…
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Israel is world’s 11th-happiest country, but…

Separate poll finds that about one-third of Israeli Jews would move abroad given the opportunity; Jewish state places above US (14th), Germany (16th) and UK (19th)

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Israelis celebrating on Independence Day in Jerusalem on April 23, 2015. ( Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israelis celebrating on Independence Day in Jerusalem on April 23, 2015. ( Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel is the 11th-happiest country in the world, ranking behind such happiness superpowers as Norway, Switzerland and Canada, but above the United States, which placed 14th, Germany(16th) and the UK (19th), according to the UN’s 2017 World Happiness Report, released Monday.

The survey seeks to quantify happiness as a means of making societies healthier and more efficient. The United Nations first published the annual report in 2012, when Israel placed 14th. In the four years since then, the Jewish state has remained in the 11th spot.

The survey found that six main factors determined the level of happiness in the countries surveyed: gross domestic product per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, individual freedom, generosity and perceptions of corruption.

Norway capped the list as the world’s most happy country, moving up three spots from last year and replacing Denmark (2nd) at the top, followed by Iceland, Switzerland and Finland.

Israeli school students dress up in costumes Hanisuii school in Jerusalem on March 10, 2017, ahead of the Purim holiday (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli school students dress up in costumes Hanisuii school in Jerusalem on March 10, 2017, ahead of the Purim holiday (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The most miserable countries were largely in sub-Saharan Africa, with Tanzania, Burundi and the Central African Republic edging out Syria for the three bottom spots on the list.

However, the impressive statistics for the Jewish state arrive as a separate Israeli poll paints a gloomier picture.

A survey released Monday by Masa Israeli, a Jewish identity project run in collaboration with the Education Ministry, found that 27 percent of Israeli Jews would leave the country if given the opportunity.

The poll indicated that the number is even higher among secular Israelis, who polled at 36%. The demographic least likely to depart the country was shown to be religious Jews, at just 7%.

Single secular males between the ages of 23 and 29 were found to be most likely to seek emigration.

The poll was commissioned on the eve of Masa Israeli’s fourth conference, set to be held at the Knesset on Monday with the goal of finding new ways to build a common discourse in Israeli society.

Israelis gather at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on June 5, 2016 with flags to celebrate Jerusalem Day, which marks Israel's victory in the 1967 Six Day War. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)
Israelis gather at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on June 5, 2016 with flags to celebrate Jerusalem Day, which marks Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six Day War. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

A separate segment of the survey focused on the issue of identity. Respondents were asked whether they consider themselves to be Israeli or Jewish first. Among Israelis who defined themselves as “traditional” or “religious” Jews, 83% and 90% identified as Jewish first, respectively; while with “secular” respondents, 44% identified first as Israeli and only then as Jewish.

In a statement on the survey results, Masa Israeli CEO Uri Cohen said, “The very fact that so many say they would leave the country if given the opportunity suggests that many Israeli citizens do not feel a sense of belonging to the country. This is an alarming statistic.”

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