They are queuing round the block to get into the new Star Wars movie.
A line from the 1999 Star Wars movie goes, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
Where does your country stand in the wise Yoda’s warning to Anakin Skywalker?
Israel is going through a period in which many of our people fear the current wave of knife-stabbing, rock-throwing, car-smashing terror attacks inspired by Palestinian incitement couched in anti-Semitic terms. But is this fear leading us to through Yoda’s stages of anger, hate and suffering to the dark side?
Not according to the recent UN Human Development Index findings.
Israel is the most resilient of nations. We have experienced what no other liberal democracy has gone through. Western countries have suffered the sudden shock of terror that makes its people fearful and a feeling of insecurity, but these attacks are not constant.
Israel, since its inception has known nothing but wars and terror, inflicted on it as a constant companion from our neighbors who, quite frankly, want to see us dead. Yet, the latest UN Index shows us to be one of the leading people when it comes to satisfaction with our lives. With an Index mark of 7.4, we tied with Norway and Finland, and were only pipped by Switzerland, Denmark and Iceland who received a figure of 7.5.
Israelis, apparently, are a more satisfied lot than Americans, Canadians, Brits or the French, despite the terror and threats.
When it came to assessing income, life expectancy and education Israel ranked 18th out of the 188 countries in human development. I promise you, we will rank even higher going into the future.
Israel scored miles higher than any other Middle Eastern country. Next best was the terrorist-sponsoring Qatar in 32nd place.
Israel’s overall position is impressive given that we only began life less than 70 years ago. Other nations have had centuries to develop their cultures and life-styles. In that short time, we have absorbed millions of immigrants and refugees into our society to become productive and positive citizens. This is a subject I will be discussing at an upcoming conference on the Middle East and the migrant problem.
One must bear in mind that the majority of Israel’s immigrant population came from underdeveloped Muslim countries and from the poverty and strife of Ethiopia, while others came from the undemocratic Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
In short, Israel had to hit the group running, being attacked by vengeful neighbors from day one of our existence.
And yet, the Zionist state appears regularly among the top nations in UN human factor and nation surveys as an example to others on how to develop a successful and happy society.
There is room for improvement, and we will improve despite the challenges that less developed countries and entities will attempt to inflict on us.
There is no shortage of negativity thrown at Israel. In the main, it bounces off us like blunt arrows. We know who we are, and we love ourselves for it.
Yoda’s words may apply to others. We can show this Star Wars hero that Israel has found another path to overcome fear, a path that takes us to a better place.
May Israel's force be with you!
Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is the author of the best-selling book ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.’ www.barrysbooks.info