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Why is Israel So Happy?

Why is Israel So Happy?

The Jewish state ranked 14th on global Happiness Report. What’s its secret?


Israel ranked 14th in the United Nations’ first World Happiness Report. The list is headed by Denmark, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands, the paradises of political correctness, welfare, anti-war, ultra-liberal and anti-nationalistic feelings, beacons which, according to the Global Peace Index, topped the list of the most “peaceful” places in the world.

So how can we explain the happiness of Israel, the only civilized country under mortal danger, the only nation without recognized borders and globally selected to be an emblem of evil?

To people who don’t live in Israel, this is a mystery. Many Israelis probably can’t figure it out, either. How is it possible that a population living under a perpetual emotional strain and ghettoizing itself behind new Maginot lines is so happy?

How can the Jews be happy when Iran is going nuclear and threatening to wipe them off the map? How can they be happy when the Arabs are firing rockets every day at civilians in Ashkelon, Beersheba, Ashdod and Sderot? What are the sources of the happiness of the only UN member condemned to death and boycotted all over the world?

Israel is much happier than all the European countries that experienced their last war six decades ago. The Jewish state’s population exceeds 7.5 million, nine times that of 1948, the year of the state’s creation. Israelis are happy because they succeeded demographically; considering the Diaspora’s low birth rates and high assimilation rates, it may not be long before most of the world’s Jews will be Israelis.

Despite Jewish heroism and Israeli collectivism giving way to Western individualism, self-criticism and frivolous hedonism, Israeli happiness is much more than the American dream of a large house and a nice car. It lies at the intersection between pleasure and meaning, “a nation like all other nations” but also “a light unto the nations.”

Related Video: Israel: Defying the Odds

Belief in God

Israelis, which have one of the longest life expectancies of any nation in the world, are happy because their country has a history of scintillating enlightenment, with the highest production of scientific publications per capita in the world, more museums per capita and the highest worldwide publication of new books. In a war-ravaged country like Israel, the past few years saw five Israeli Nobel Prize winners.

Another reason is economic success. No other industrialized country does it better, especially for a nation that doesn’t have natural resources and has a population roughly half of Belgium’s. Israel’s high-tech industry is flourishing, making the country known as “start-up nation.”

While Israel’s social fabric is deeply divided between ultra-Orthodox Jews and “Hellenistic” Israelis, nationalists and leftists, two-thirds of Israelis believe in God, therefore maintaining the hope and feeling that there is higher meaning and purpose to their lives. There is also the attachment to the Jewish land, while love for one’s land is a nationalistic taboo in the West.

Overall, Israel’s population is very resilient. A new governmental study just found that Intifada-era violence did nothing to affect Israel’s national morale. Israelis are also happy because they know that Dimona and the IDF are there to protect them, even if the army lost some of its famous deterrence.

Finally, there is the most important reason why Israeli happiness is an enchanting and heartening mystery for all free men. When comparing the fertility rate to the suicide rate, one can see the proportion of people who choose to create new life against the proportion who choose to destroy their own. This is why the Jews will ultimately win a centennial war against an enemy ready to sacrifice all of its children in order to throw all Israelis into the sea.

In Israel, the celebrations of life are far more numerous than the memories of death. That's Israel’s secret for happiness: it's a lighthouse of life on the border between survival and destruction. Ultimately, life will prevail over death.

This article originally appeared on

April 21, 2012

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Visitor Comments: 20

(19) Fetle, February 6, 2013 9:13 AM

The Almighty

I think that the Israeli people are happy, because they know that The Almighty is their shield; no matter what. I pray Israel will be on top of the list, soon. Shower of blessings!

(18) jimmy, April 27, 2012 2:21 PM

Hope, yes hope, it makes one happy no matter what. Israel is my destination state.The land of hope and future. Just to think and pray for Israel and Yerushalem makes me happy!

(17) Annette, April 26, 2012 2:40 PM

This was an interesting read, being Danish and thus belonging to the happiest people in the world; It doesn't seem weird at all to me that Israel is happy though, you have a lot to be proud and happy about, obviously not the constant danger to your country. When you look at which are the happiest nations, it seems to me it's the smaller one's, and maybe there's something there as well; when you are from a tiny nation, like Israel or Denmark, you are part of a smaller group of people who have so much in common; in Denmark someone once said to me: heck we are all related, so if you don't pay taxes, you steal from your family. Maybe the smaller nations, where we have common beliefs and way of life just makes happier people; okay the USA does not fit my little theory here I know, but being Danish and living in France, one thing that always strikes me about the large European countries, is how they always complain. How they are always unsatisfied. They do not appreciate what they have got, they complain and whine about what they don't have. In Denmark you are always taught to be happy with what you got, I guess a little like the English saying: count your blessing - This is not the most coherent comment, I know, but my point is that I don't think it's so weird that Israelis are so happy, plus it's such a beautiful country. NB! Denmark is definitely not a haven of political correctness, it's the country in the world where you can state your mind, regardless of what this mind may be.

(16) Katie, April 25, 2012 7:55 PM

HaShem and Israel

G_d bless the USA and Israel. One holds the other up. Jews have always had to survive. Pray for Moshiach. Remember the Golden Rule. Shalom.

(15) Anonymous, April 25, 2012 9:39 AM

We are happy because we are jews and live at Israel

Work hard, Thinking, learning always, improving ourselves every day, smiling and eatng 'pita with olive oil' we are israelis!!! And happy!!

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