On this Independence Day, Israelis have a lot to be proud of

Opinion: While seems public dissatisfaction with the state of the country is rising, factual data proves that not only are we stronger and more prosperous than ever and we are able to overcome any political crisis
There is no point in denying that after four consecutive election rounds in two years, the atmosphere in the country is tough and even irritating.
And while the public discourse, as filled with discontent as it is, paints a seemingly gloomy picture, the people of Israel are actually pretty pleased with their country – as they should be.
This is not due to blind optimism spurred by the festivities of the 73rd Independence Day. No, it is an actual fact solidified by concrete data.
Israel is placed fourth among OECD countries in the sphere of healthcare. And while the average happiness index score among OECD countries is hovering around 6.5 out of 10, in Israel the score is 8.5.
Indeed, the people of Israel are stronger than the eroding influence of its political system.
And while the voices of discontent among Israelis are indeed loud, they do not, in fact, represent the majority.
Israel’s Gini index – a measure of the distribution of income across a population – reached a 20-year low in 2018, which means inequality gap is narrowing.
That is without mentioning the fact that Israel is ranked fifth in the world in intergenerational mobility – which means that an individual’s wellbeing is less dependent on the socioeconomic status of his or her parents. In that respect, we have beaten countries such as New Zealand, Sweden, Germany and Japan.
According to one survey, however, as least 48% of Israelis are considering emigrating to another country. In reality though, Israelis tend to emigrate much less, at least compared to other OECD countries.
In fact, emigration from Israel has declined. In 1990, according to a study by Uri Altman, the rate of those leaving Israel was 5.3 people per 1,000. After about a decade, it dropped to 4.2 per 1,000 and by 2017 it stood at about 1.6 per 1,000.
It seems that despite warnings about people leaving the country en mass, the majority of Israelis have actually decided to put down roots in the Jewish State.
There is, of course, also talk about how Israel’s democracy is being eroded. But this argument has been reduced to nothing but a flimsy conjecture according the not-so Zionist “The Economist” weekly newspaper, which ranked Israel 27th in its Democracy Index (the highest Israel has ever been ranked).
Israel’s media as a whole is mostly preoccupied with criticizing the country’s politics as well as its politicians and that’s Democracy at its finest. The day the media praises the country’s leadership is the day we should all be worried.
And while criticism is an important part of change and growth, we must remember to zoom out once in a while to see the bigger picture.
Independence Day is the perfect day to do exactly that. To look back at where we started, be amazed at the changes and progress we’ve made throughout these 73 years.
Now, of all days, is the time to be a proud Israeli.


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