UN Ranks Israel 11th Happiest Country but Separate Poll Finds Third of Secular Israelis Would Move Abroad

TEL AVIV – Israel is the 11th-happiest country in the world, beating the United States (14th), Germany (16th) and the UK (19th), according to the UN’s 2017 World Happiness Report, released Monday.

The report, released to coincide with the UN’s International Day of Happiness, measures happiness as a way to make robust societies healthier.

It is the fifth year since the survey was first published, and in the past four years Israel has maintained the 11th spot.

The Palestinian Territories ranked 103 in this year’s survey.

The report quantifies happiness through gross domestic product per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, individual freedom, generosity and perceptions of corruption.

Norway topped the list as the world’s happiest country, soaring up three spots from last year and followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland.

The report said that “all of the top four countries rank highly on all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance.”

The U.S. slipped to 14th on the list because of less social welfare and more corruption.

Of the 20 most miserable countries, five were in the Middle East and North Africa and five were in sub-Saharan Africa, with Tanzania, Burundi and the Central African Republic securing the three bottom spots.

However, the statistics for Israel fly in the face of another poll released the same day that found that 27% of Israeli Jews would move abroad if given the opportunity.

The poll, released by Masa Israeli ahead of its fourth conference at the Knesset, found that number to be even higher among secular Israelis (36%). Single, secular men between the ages of 23-29 were found to be the most likely to leave the country if given the opportunity.

The least likely were religious Jews, at just 7%.

“The fact that so many people say they would leave the country if they could indicates that many Israeli citizens do not feel a sense of belonging to the state,” Masa Israeli CEO Uri Cohen said. “This is an alarming statistic that obligates us all to deal with this difficult issue.”

The survey also asked 509 Israeli Jews whether they consider themselves to be Israeli or Jewish first. 100% of ultra-Orthodox Jews, 90% of religious and 83% of those who defined themselves as “traditional” identified as Jewish first. Of secular respondents, 44% saw themselves first as Israeli and only then as Jewish.


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