Why Israel Is the World's Happiest Country

[Asia Times-Hong Kong] Spengler - Envy surrounds no country on Earth like the State of Israel, and with good reason: by objective measures, Israel is the happiest nation on Earth. It is one of the wealthiest, freest and best-educated; and it enjoys a higher life expectancy than Germany or the Netherlands. But most remarkable is that Israelis appear to love life and hate death more than any other nation. As a simple index of life-preference, I plotted the fertility rate versus the suicide rate of 35 industrial countries - that is, the proportion of people who choose to create new life against the proportion who choose to destroy their own. Israel stands alone at the top. "As much as you love life, we love death," Muslim clerics teach; the same formula is found in a Palestinian textbook for second graders. Apart from the fact that the Arabs are among the least free, least educated, and (apart from the oil states) poorest peoples in the world, they also are the unhappiest, even in their wealthiest kingdoms. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia ranks 171st on an international quality of life index, below Rwanda. The contrast of Israeli happiness and Arab despondency is what makes peace an elusive goal in the region.

2008-05-13 01:00:00

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