Israel: World's Happiest Country
According to the author of this article (written only as "Spengler"), at its 60th Independence Day in 2008, Israel was the happiest nation on Earth. Although it was, as it is now, surrounded by enemies sworn to annihilate her, it was (and still is) one of the 'wealthiest, free-est and most highly-educated' nations, to paraphrase the author--and its citizens have a higher life-expectancy than either Germany or the Netherlands.
Can it be a coincidence that this most ancient of nations , and the only nation persuaded that it was summoned into history for God's service, consists of individuals who appear to love life more than any other people? As a simple index of life-preference, I plot 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, positioned in the upper-left-hand-quadrant, or life-loving, portion of the chart . Those who believe in Israel's divine election might see a special grace reflected in its love of life.As opposed to Islam which is much more fatalistic, valuing death more than life (their own words, in their own 2nd grade textbooks), the Jewish faith in G-d is positive and life-affirming, basically stating that we have been placed in this physical world for a purpose, to make life better for human beings, and do Tikkun Olam (repairing the world of its brokenness). Here's an example of what the world does not understand that Israel has done for Tikkun Olam, in its short, 64 year history in modern times.
In a world given over to morbidity, the state of Israel still teaches the world love of life, not in the trivial sense of joie de vivre, but rather as a solemn celebration of life. In another location, I argued, "It's easy for the Jews to talk about delighting in life. They are quite sure that they are eternal, while other peoples tremble at the prospect impending extinction.
There are always questions and doubts about what is actually "true," in any religion. But over all, in Judaism and the Jewish experience through the centuries, there has been and is today, a specialness and permanence, and a Divine component. What other explanation can there be?