Shalom Pollack
Shalom PollackINN: S.P.

This year's happiness survey places Israel in the fourth spot just below three Scandinavian countries.

The Northern societies are known for their introverted personalities and protective private space.

The number one happiness winner, now six years running, is Finland. In this Scandinavian society one literally only speaks when there is something of importance to say. Smiles and laughs are reserved for only good reasons.

In these northern lands, people prefer to avoid surprise meetings with each other and thus not have to deal with unnecessary conversation.

Besides their extreme introversion; some would say antisocial behavior, Finns trust each other as they do their government institutions.

Scandinavians live in peaceful countries devoid of fear of external or internal enemies. Their welfare state leaves no one wanting financially. No apparent stress. No violent demonstrations, no crazy politics, no extreme polarization.

Surprisingly it would seem, despite all the goodies, these societies suffer from alcoholism and suicide rates that are amongst the highest in the world. That needs to be explained.

The bottom line; with all the contradictions, is that they regularly come on top of the happiness list.

Following Israel on the list are the Netherlands and some other quiet, Western European European countries. Quiet and calm seem to be some of the necessary ingredients to make it on the list.

The country that breaks the mold is Israel.

According to the requisites for happy societies, Israel is in the wrong neighborhood.

In almost every category Israel stands out as the exact opposite of their fellow happy countries

What is it then that places the embattled m polarised Jewish state in fourth place on the happiness scale?

I can only speak for myself.

Yes, it's often a tough place but as Nietzche said,'' when the "why" is clear then so is the "how."

Awareness that you are a Jew living in the only Jewish country, a land that God Almighty literally set aside for you personally, is there a better reason for "how"?

Is there a better "why"?

We are witnessing in Israel today an unprecedented furious attack by the minority Left/secular on the majority elected Right/traditional coalition.

The Left can not accept the election results and so calls for separation and civil war is common as they struggle to retain their privilege in the name of democracy despite their minority representation in the Knesset.

Absent the awareness that they as Jews are privileged to live in God's promised land together with something unique called "the Jewish people", what is left is power and politics.

The camp that they are threatening with bloodshed does not use that language. The concept of a promised Jewish land, and a holy Jewish brotherhood, are the "why's" that are the source of their restraint. It is the hidden secret of their happiness despite all.

The popular rabbi/philosopher Rabbi Natan Lopez Cordoza raised a number of thought-provoking observations that cut through much of the noise dominating the debate in Israel today

Two quotes, in particular, capture the core of the clash, which has long been boiling below the surface and has now erupted.

One section of Isreal's Jewish population, he writes, believes :

"There is no Israeli claim to the land, there is only a Jewish one".

"There is no security for Israel unless it is secure in its own identity."

The protesting side, sadly, believes that its security and prosperity depend upon negating its Jewish identity.

Who we are, and why are we here? Why was this unique country created?

Israeli society has come to an unavoidable historic crossroads.

But imagine - if all Jews shared the values declaring this a state with Jewish identity, we would surpass Finland in a flash.

Shalom Pollack,[email protected], is a tour guide and author of "Jews, Israelis and Arabs"