Saturday, September 20, 2003

There's an ongoing discussion over at Michael J. Totten's about why Israelis are happier than Canadians, based on the results of different opinion polls. The deduction that Israelis are happier is not really scientifically viable in this instance, because the polls are not comparable, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Everyone in Israel is always amazed with the results of these "happiness" polls. Not just because of terrorism, and the worsening economic situation, but also because everyone's always complaining all the time about how awful everything is and how we've never had it so bad (even though this is not strictly true). And we're such a pressured society, always running around and talking on our cell phones. When do we have time to be happy?

Off the cuff, without really thinking, I wrote on the comments "We can sit on the rocks of the wave breaker on the far side of the pier in the ancient Jaffa Port, near Andromeda's Rock, and watch the sun setting into the sea. How can we not be happy?"

Roger took this to mean that I think Jaffa is particularly beautiful. I don't. I'm not sure why I wrote it. Bish says this is not the reason Israelis are happy, it's the reason Imshin is happy. Well, maybe not the reason - its more of a moment in time that has been forever burnt into my consciousness as what happiness feels like. Of course, I was sitting there on the rocks with my family.

So why are we happy? Don't try and romanticize us. We behave atrociously to each other, we are grasping and impatient and we are forever chasing after pleasures of the moment.

I asked Bish why he thought Israelis were happy and he said because of the Hevr'e. The Hevr'e is the gang, the network of friends. There's always someone to sit and complain with about how awful everything is. People don't need much, he said. A dry piece of bread in a prison cell is just fine if you're sharing it with a good friend.