A large majority of Israelis, 86 percent, are satisfied with life, according to the 2012 Social Survey, released Wednesday by the Central Bureau of Statistics. One-third said they are “very satisfied.”

The survey, which focused mostly on financial satisfaction, produced unusual and interesting findings among the respondents, aged 20 and over.

Among Jews, religion seemed to bring happiness. Sixty-six percent of haredim (ultra-Orthodox) said they were “very satisfied” with life, compared with 41% of religious Jews, 31% of the traditional Jews and 30% of secular Jews. Religion has often been linked to increased reported happiness, and scholars such as Harvard’s Robert Putnam posit that it is a result of the strong emphasis on community and built-in social ties.

Israelis with a socialist socioeconomic leaning, for example, were almost twice as satisfied with their finances as those with a capitalist leaning (41% versus 24%).

Fifty-six percent of respondents said they were satisfied with their financial situation, a noteworthy finding, given the soaring cost of living, particularly in housing and food. Another 40% said they thought their financial situation would improve in years to come.

Not surprisingly, high earners were more satisfied with their monetary situation. Of those earning over NIS 14,000 a month, 87% were satisfied, while 40% of those earning under NIS 3,000 – below the minimum wage – were also satisfied. However, that may reflect people who work part-time because their spouse or partner earns a higher amount.

Among the employed, there were no significant differences between men and women in the overall level of financial satisfaction.

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