It's official. Israelis are happy. We have been ranked the 11th happiest country in the world in the recently released worldwide happiness index.
Yom Ha'atzmaut is an opportunity for us to turn to IRAC's staff, people who work on mending Israel's ailments every day, and to ask them why. What do they love most about Israel? Here is what some of them had to say:
Noa Sattath (IRAC Director): I love living in a place where everyone speaks Hebrew. It is a language that is filled with innovation, humor and profound Jewish roots.
Orly Erez-Likhovski (Legal Department Director): I went this week to see the movie Junction 48, a film about oppression faced by Israeli Palestinians in Lyd. The ability to watch a challenging movie like this in my own local theater reminded me that Israel is a democratic society that is open to tough conversations and harsh criticism of the government.
Ian Chesir-Teran (Diaspora Relations): I love the sense of freedom and community that my children enjoy on our religiously-diverse kibbutz in Northern Israel, where the cows still outnumber the people.
Karen Saar (Executive Assistant): I love the way Israelis think outside of the box. People step on each other's toes to try to find solutions to problems that are sometimes above their pay grade. It can be messy, but it opens up possibilities and allows for creative thinking.
Ruti Carmi (Staff Attorney): I love that Israelis know how to roll with the punches. You can argue with someone for 9 hours and then go out for a drink together afterwards.
As for me, I am not so big on the pursuit of happiness. I find happiness in the pursuit of meaning. Being an Israeli gives my life meaning because I take part in shaping one of the biggest modern experiments in Jewish history: the State of Israel. For that, I couldn't be happier.