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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shiny happy Israelis (Brian Henry)

From the National Post:
Canada and Israel have much in common. We’re both big believers in democracy and in fairness, we’re both highly diverse multicultural societies and both of us have dynamic economies.

But I was tickled to learn this summer that Canada and Israel have yet one more thing in common: We’re tied for eighth place among the happiest people on Earth.

Some people might be surprised to find Israelis at the top of the happiness charts. After all, Gallup conducted this poll from 2005 to 2009, and during that time, Israel fought two wars.

On top of that, Israel is often protrayed as a monstrous apartheid state. Surely Israeli Arabs must live in utter misery — and since they make up 20% of the population, their despair ought to pop the happiness bubble, right? Apparently not. It seems Israeli Arabs are pretty happy, too.

Arab-Israeli soccer star Beram Kayal has an easy explanation for misconceptions about Israel. “People watch too much television,” he recently told Scotland’s Sunday Herald.

“What the television shows about Israel is totally different [from] what happens. The life between the Jews and the Arabs is very good. I’m an Arab and my agent is Jewish but we’re like family … Maccabi Haifa has seven or eight Arab players and that’s normal. The only difference is their religion, but there’s no conflict.”
Read the whole thing.