The average Israeli is dissatisfied with his home, lacks free time and works
long hours, does not trust others, is politically uninvolved, has negative
attitudes and believes that life in Israel is corrupt, according to a
comparative study based on OECD data by the Finance Ministry’s Economic and
Research Division. Globes obtained a copy of the study, which is intended to
find supplementary standard-of-living variables.
The data joins Israel’s
high level of inequality (in fifth place in the OECD), prevalence of poverty
(the highest except for Mexico), high level of employment (far from the OECD
average) and chronic unemployment, which despite rising in the past decade is
still comparatively low.
There are quite a few bright points. Israelis
are very pleased with their health, which is better than in other OECD member
states by almost every measure. Israelis say they are happier than most
of their counterparts in other OECD states. Israelis’ sense of personal security
is higher on a comparative basis, with the incidence of assault among the lowest
in the OECD (in fourth place).
The number of Israelis with strong social
ties (respondents who say they have someone to rely on if necessary) is higher
than in the OECD.
Regarding employment, there have been some positive
developments. In contrast to what is happening in OECD member states,
employment in Israel has grown strongly over the past decade.
findings about education are mixed. Although the results of PISA tests pulls
down Israel’s ranking, Israel has the second-highest proportion of people with
higher degrees, after Canada.
There are some points that should worry
Israel’s politicians. The housing crisis is beginning to be reflected in
data: the number of rooms per capita is the lowest in the OECD, except for
Poland and Hungary; Israelis work the most hours, except for the Turks and
Mexicans; Israel is ranked third in terms of the proportion of the population
that believes corruption is prevalent in government, after Greece and Hungary;
and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan believes Israel is ranked last
in terms of clean air and water.
“Israel is outstanding in public health,
the feeling of happiness and especially in social ties,” the report said.
“Israel has strong social cohesion, partly because it is a small country and due
to a sense of shared fate and background.”