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.”