Israeli beach. (Dario Sanchez/Flash90) Dario Sanchez/Flash90
Israeli beach

The happiest nations were Finland, Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden followed by Israel.

By Shula Rosen

Despite facing one of the most severe crises in its history, Israel ranked this year as the fifth happiest nation on earth.

The 2024 World Happiness Report (WHR) arrived at its figures by taking the average of the last three years.

Israel ranked only one spot lower, fifth after ranking fourth in 2023.

The happiest nations were Finland, Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden followed by Israel.

Israel ranked ahead of the Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Australia.

Israel was an exception in the Middle East, where many countries ranked near the bottom on the happiness scale.

Afghanistan was the unhappiest country at 143, with Lebanon at 142, Jordan ranked 125th, Egypt was 127th, the Palestinian Authority was ranked 103th, with Iran ranked 100th.

Canada was at 23rd, Germany ranked 24th, the US was 25th and France was 27th.

The ranking, conducted by the Wellbeing Research Centre at the University of Oxford, uses subjective metrics including life evaluation, positive emotions, and negative emotions.

Respondents were asked to rate their feelings from 0 to 10 on a scale called Cantril ladder.

The individuals’ responses were taken together with WHR’s own evaluation of GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and corruption.

The ranking was arrived at through averaging the past three years, with the period since October 7th until December 2023 factored in.

However, if only 2023 were considered, Israel would have ranked 19th.

When asked to account for Israel’s high ranking in 2024, happiness policy researcher at the Science, Technology, and Society program at Bar-Ilan University, Anat Fanti said the index accounts for the long-term and is not dramatically affected by specific events.

“Even this year, which was one of the most difficult in the country’s history, Israel ranked in the top five of the International Happiness Index. ”

She added, “The reason for this is that life satisfaction, the main index by which happiness is measured, is a stable index over time and refers to the characteristics of the country as a whole.”

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