Skip to main content

Existential threats don't diminish Israeli happiness

Although confronted with security threats, unemployment, high cost of living, discrimination against minorities and increased crime, Israelis' warm family and social ties make them feel happy.
A woman spins a hula hoop around her waist on a beach in Tel Aviv December 4, 2014.Unusually hot weather has hit Israel in the last few days with temperatures reaching 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) at mid-day.  
Read in 

Sometimes it seems like life is not so good in Israel. The health system is on the verge of collapse; the school system is experiencing difficulties; and more and more corruption scandals are being uncovered, while organized crime thrives. Along with all the above, the average Israeli has to deal with a high cost of living, skyrocketing housing costs, a jobs crisis in the south or various kinds of discrimination experienced by members of the Ethiopian community.

It is therefore surprising to discover, year after year, that Israel consistently ranks high in international happiness and satisfaction indexes. In 2015, Israel came in a respectable 11th in the United Nations’ World Happiness Report — ahead of the United States (15th), Belgium (19th), Britain (21st), Singapore (24th) — and many other countries to which Israelis tend to compare themselves. This is not a fluke. For example, Israel was ranked sixth in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) 2012 Better Life Index and eighth in the 2013 OECD index category of “life satisfaction.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.