Last month, the Central Bureau of Statistics published a social survey in which 90% of Jerusalem residents report that they are satisfied or very satisfied with their lives. This rate is similar to the national average (88%) and to the corresponding rate in Tel Aviv (91%) and higher than the corresponding rates in other large cities.This appears to be wonderful news, but a deeper look reveals a more complex picture. Unlike in cities like Kfar Saba, where residents are satisfied with the conditions where they live, with their economic situation, and finally also with their lives, in Jerusalem there is a disconnect among these variables. Most Jerusalem residents are not satisfied with the conditions where they live. Only 37% indicated satisfaction with cleanliness, 48% with garbage collection, 37% with green spaces, 44% with the state of roads and sidewalks and 37% with public transport. With respect to most of these, Jerusalem ranks in bottom place among the major Israeli cities.Also, only 58% of Jerusalem residents are satisfied with their economic situation, which is below the national level (62%) and the corresponding level in Tel Aviv (64%).Therefore, it is surprising that 90% of Jerusalem residents report satisfaction with their lives, and not only that, they are even remarkably optimistic: 62% of Jerusalem residents report that they believe their lives will be better in the future, and 50% that their economic situation will improve. These levels are significantly higher than those in Tel Aviv and above the national average. For both, Jerusalem is in second place among the 16 major cities. An examination of the data in Bnei Brak and Beit Shemesh, where similar trends prevail, may provide an explanation. In both cities, residents expressed a low level of satisfaction with their living conditions, but high levels of satisfaction with their lives and their optimism for future.The dominant feature common to Jerusalem and these two cities is their high percentage of haredi populations, and an analysis of the data for Jews in Jerusalem indicates a clear positive connection between the level of a residents’ religious observance and the two parameters of satisfaction with life and optimism.Thus, while Jerusalem residents are not satisfied with their living conditions they – especially the religiously observant among them – are satisfied with their lives in general and optimistic with regard to their future.What philosophical conclusion would you derive from this insight? Translated by Gilah Kahn-Hoffmann.