Israelis happier but more dissatisfied than OECD peers

Average Israeli dissatisfied with his home, lacks free time, works long hours, does'nt trust others, believes that life in Israel is corrupt.

April 26, 2012 22:37
1 minute read.
Shadow of couple on Israeli flag [file]

Shadow of couple on Israeli flag 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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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.

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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.

The study’s 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.”

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