One out of every five Israelis – over a million people - volunteer in their communities, or in other settings, a study released Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics showed.
According to the poll, 22% of men and 18% of women do volunteer work. More young people – 21% of those between 20 and 44 – volunteer than do their elders; 20% of Israelis 45-65 were volunteers, while only 16% of those over 65 did so.
Many more Jews – 23% of the entire Jewish population – did volunteer work than did Arabs, of whom only 8% volunteered. Among Jews, the highest percentage of volunteers – 38% - was to be found among those who consider themselves a part of the hareidi community. In the religious Zionist community, 33% said they volunteered.
Of those who did give of their time, 37% said they worked with the less fortunate – either less healthy or wealthy than they – while 27% volunteered in culture and educational activities.
Ten percent volunteered in the police, army, and other security bodies, while 6% were involved in “religious volunteering.” Three percent worked to protect the environment, and 7% were listed as volunteering in “other” areas.
Those who do help others report that they are “happier” than those who don't. Forty-two percent of volunteers said they were “satisfied with their lives,” compared to 28% of those who did not help out. Of the volunteers, 57% said they were optimistic about the future, compared to 48% of non-volunteers.