Friday, June 22, 2007
Shiny Happy People
As a Canadian-born Jew with Israeli parents, with most of my mother’s family still living in Israel, the Holy Land has always felt like home to me. The rich culture, the ancient history, the beautiful beaches, the delicious food, the gorgeous people and the unmistakable Israeli attitude have always been the first thoughts that pop into my head when I think about Israel.
It shouldn’t surprise me, however, that not everyone feels this way. The media doesn’t help – with the constant images of violence and tears.
But I was surprised when, five years ago, I had to twist my best friend’s arm – one who had spent 10 long years in a Hebrew private school – to come to Israel with me on a birthright israel trip. She was too scared. She thought Israel was nothing more than a war zone.
Of course, anyone who has visited Israel, my best friend included, will tell you that the moment you step foot in the country, the conflict is one of the last things on your mind. Surrounded by such beauty, history and culture – it’s easy to get distracted.
This could explain why the Israeli-based Central Bureau of Statistics reported that an overwhelming majority of Israelis – nearly 83 per cent – are happy with their lives. Nearly 75 per cent of Israeli Arabs said they feel the same way.
I wonder how North American figures would compare?