Israel Ranks 4th In World Happiness Rankings, Although Social Unrest Over Judicial Reforms Could Change Ranking

Israelis crowd outside the country's first 7-Eleven convenience store on Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Street, Jan. 11, 2023. (Deborah Danan)

JERUSALEM (VINnews) — In a finding which apparently predated the current social and political upheaval in Israel, the World Happiness rankings showed Israelis as the 4th happiest country in the world, up from 9th position last year and showing its highest position since the index began publication in 2012.

To create the index, researchers simply asked people how satisfied they are with their lives. Scores were assigned using these self-reported answers from people living within various countries, as well as quality of life factors. While there may be no perfect measure of happiness around the world, the report is a robust and transparent attempt to understand happiness at the global level.

The list, comprised of 137 countries worldwide, crowned Finland as the world’s happiest country for the sixth year running, with Afghanistan again the unhappiest, closely succeeded by Lebanon, which is in severe social and economic crisis.

Despite its perpetual regional conflicts and existential threats from Iran, Israelis declared themselves satisfied with their lives and the economic data bore out the relative welfare of the Israeli population.

The index assigns a happiness score on a scale of zero to 10, based on an average of data collected over a three-year period.

The survey utilized data collected between 2020 and 2022, prior to the current judical reforms and the protests being made against them.

Anat Fanti, a social science researcher at Bar Ilan University, said that if the survey had been conducted after the judicial reform was revealed, “its results would be different and Israel’s ranking would have been harmed.”

She told the Ynet news outlet that the ranking could be explained by a strong economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic, as well as “the level of hope and optimism among some populations as a result of the broad unity government” led by former prime ministers Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid, though that government was despised by many in the right wing.

The latest edition of the index was the first to rank Russia and Ukraine since the outbreak of war in February 2022. In the 2023 report, Russia rose ten places to 70th, and Ukraine increased from 98th in 2022 to 92nd in 2023.

The United States improved by one place to 15th, while France dropped one spot to 21st. The Palestinian Authority was placed 99th.

As well as a personal sense of well-being, the happiness index factors GDP, social support, individual freedom and levels of corruption, measured via Gallup polls conducted in each country.

Afghanistan, already bottom of the table, has seen its humanitarian crisis deepen since the Taliban retook power in 2021.

Northern Europeans once again dominated the top spots — with the Finns, Danes and Icelanders forming the top three.

The report raised eyebrows when it first placed Finland at the top of its listings in 2018.

Many of the 5.5 million Finns describe themselves as taciturn and prone to melancholy and admit to eyeing public displays of joyfulness with suspicion.

But the country of vast forests and lakes is also known for its well-functioning public services, ubiquitous saunas, widespread trust in authority and low levels of crime and inequality.

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2 months ago

Of course they’re happy! That picture is on July 11 when 7-11 gives out free slurpees. Otherwise known as frum family day.

2 months ago

Although Social Unrest Over Judicial Reforms Could Change Ranking
No it won’t. Fake news