Israelis: Don’t Worry, Be Happy

by | Feb 28, 2014 | Israel & Jewish Roots, Standing With Israel

On the Jewish calendar, we are entering the month, Adar, during which we celebrate Purim, the victory of Esther and Mordecai over the evil Haman, some 2,500 years ago, and recounted in the book of Esther.

Because of Purim, Adar is a month filled with joy. Our tradition is “From the Beginning of Adar—Rejoicing Increases!” This is played out in our actions, celebrations and song.

While we hope that life is always filed with joy, and even among trying times there are always things to celebrate, Adar makes us seek these out and highlight them. In this context, two thoughts came to mind.

(By the way, I have loved receiving feedback over the months of writing these articles and was wondering what brings you joy at this season and in your life in general. Please write to me and share your thoughts at

A few months ago, Israel was ranked 11th as among the most happy people/countries in the world. The UN-commissioned world happiness report listed only 10 countries in which the citizens are happier. For some, this will sound like a paradox, almost justifiably, as it’s most common in the media to depict Israel simplistically as a place of conflict, war and terrorism.

Indeed, every time I travel to the U.S. to speak in churches, on TV and radio programs, and in other venues, I am asked, “Isn’t it dangerous in Israel?” The idea of threats we face (which are real and I do not diminish) and Israelis being among the happiest in the world on the surface does seem like there’s a conflict.

The truth is, I am happier here. My kids are happy. We have a great quality of life, and I perceived that as a kid in high school myself, which became one of the driving factors in my moving to Israel. But not wanting to write just about how great my life is in Israel, I asked friends what they thought. Did they agree with the survey’s results? If so, why?

The following is not scientific but gives a sense of why the survey got it right. Why are we happy? Here’s why:

  • We merit being here after 2,000 years in Diaspora.
  • The people we see daily are Jewish and also love being in a Jewish country.
  • We are home.
  • The majority of Israelis are religious to some degree, even if just traditionally. Religious people are happier because belief in God gives people hope when times are tough, and when things are good it reinforces your faith.
  • We have a sense of national purpose that many Western nations have lost.
  • For some it is related to the religion, but even secular Zionists feel that just being in Israel, they are doing something good and it makes them happy.
  • We believe in the future—that is why we have so many babies.
  • The country is full of life. People do things here. They do things with their families. Have you ever noticed family events involve children, parents, grandparents and sometimes even the great grandparents?
  • The Israeli economy and security situation have been improving very fast since the second intifada. As long as things are improving, people are happy. It doesn’t matter how much money you make; as long as you make a little more every year, you feel like you are making progress and succeeding.
  • Israel is a place where it’s easy to be happy­—it’s a very beautiful country with a very diverse population.
  • The beaches are amazing. The hikes up north are breathtaking. The weather is beautiful. No snow storms, no hurricanes, and no rain for half a year.
  • Every six months there are festivals when the whole country goes on tiyulim (hikes through the land). And usually people take another vacation as well in the summer.
  • The food in Israel is healthy and delicious. This might seem like a minor thing, but I just bought a whole bag of grapes, and they are so delicious I literally started laughing. I never had fruit like this in America.
  • We lend one another mutual support institutionally, as we are a culture wherein people will tell you to put a hat on your kid and a clerk can bend the rules if you’re in need of help.
  • Israel is a culture that supports families and family life. 
  • We feel connected to each other, to our history and to traditions. We are not anonymous. When you hear the weather report, it’s for the whole country. We’re a whole.
  • Here we have meaning from our collective past, from our history, from having a bit of struggle, from seeing miracles as part of our survival to see the Jewish dream materialize and us being a part of it.
  • Actually things are pretty good here—or at least things are pretty bad everywhere else. We are glad we don’t live in Greece or Detroit, for example.
  • We’d rather our Arab neighbors kill each other rather than killing us.
  • Barack Obama is making Netanyahu look good by contrast.
  • I am far happier here than in the U.S.
  • Overseas, people focus on images and the outward appearance of greatness and beauty. I’m not against any of those, but when living like that, it’s hard not to value those things out of proportion to their importance.
  • I spent 15 years in orchards in Gush Etzion, and there’s a prophesy in Ezekiel that says that when the mountains of Judea produce fruit in abundance, then that’s the indicator that the redemption is near. I’ve been privileged to have been a part of that.

I am nearing my 10th anniversary in Israel and would add one point personally. While Israel is a place that’s been a refuge for Jews fleeing hatred and persecution in countries around the world, it’s also a magnet for people like me who look to move up, spiritually and qualitatively. The word to move to Israel is Aliyah which means “to go up,” reflecting this reality.

Finally, going back to Purim and the Book of Ruth, one sentence from 2,500 years ago still resonates today: “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, be of the seed of the Jews, you shall not prevail against him, but shall surely fall before him” (Esth. 6:13).

Happy Purim and a joyous Adar.

Jonathan Feldstein is the director of Heart to Heart, a unique virtual blood donation program to bless Israel and save lives in Israel. Born and educated in the U.S., Feldstein emigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. Throughout his life and career, he has been blessed by the calling to fellowship with Christian supporters of Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He writes a regular column for Charisma’s Standing With Israel. You can contact Jonathan at  


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


Troy Black Shares A Message to Help You Fight For Faith Again

Troy Black Shares A Message to Help You Fight For Faith Again

Young, old, rich or poor—nobody is immune to the feeling of brokenness. Jesus' life, death and resurrection on earth is a constant reminder that death no longer has a sting. Fear and hopelessness lurk throughout the earth trying to find an opportune moment to consume...

Kevin Sorbo’s Transformative Encounter as a Teen with Billy Graham

Kevin Sorbo’s Transformative Encounter as a Teen with Billy Graham

Actor Kevin Sorbo is known today for his roles in faith-based movies, like "God's Not Dead" and "Left Behind," but the iconic "Hercules" star's Christian roots took form at an early age. Sorbo recently told CBN's "Faith vs. Culture" he first read the prophetic book of...

7 Forms of Functional Cessationism

7 Forms of Functional Cessationism

In this article, cessationism refers to the doctrine, practice or belief that the ascension ministry gifts and the manifestations of the Holy Spirit ceased with the early church and do not function in the present church age (Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Cor. 12: 4-11). The...

Practical Tips to Maximize Your Time

Practical Tips to Maximize Your Time

We all have the same amount of time—four hours a day, seven days a week. And the longer I live, the more I discover that time is too valuable for us to waste any of it. That’s why it is so important that we learn to live on purpose, for a purpose. The truth is if you...

Enter the Courts of Heaven with Rabbi Curt Landry

Enter the Courts of Heaven with Rabbi Curt Landry

This article was first released by Curt Landry Ministries. Note: This is the first of a two-part series of articles. When you enter heaven's courtroom to do spiritual warfare, you are asking that the will of God, what is written in His books, be released from heaven...


The Spiritual Awakening of Buffalo, New York

Monday night, Jan. 2, 2023, God drew our nation to prayer as Bills player Damar Hamlin experienced cardiac arrest on live tv. Could this have been the largest spontaneous prayer meeting in the...
Dr. Don Colbert: How This Every Day Ingredient is Killing Your Brain

Dr. Don Colbert: How This Every Day Ingredient is Killing Your Brain

Read Time: 4 Minutes 43 Seconds Of the many artificial sweeteners out there, such as aspartame, sucralose (Splenda), saccharin (Sugar Twin and Sweet’N Low) and neotame (NutraSweet), aspartame is one of the most common. How common? Aspartame is an ingredient in more...

Pin It on Pinterest