"There was a time when people felt guilty about the Tel Aviv bubble," says Shavit. "Then it turned out the bubble was pretty strong. The bubble was resilient." Indeed, there are times when you can think most of the nation is within it. Polls are clear on the point. In a 2007 survey, 95% of Israeli Jews described themselves as happy, and a third said they were "very happy." The rich are happier than the poor, and the religious are happiest of all. But the broad thrust, so incongruous to people who know Israel only from headlines, suits a country whose quality of life is high and getting better.Frankly, I don't see a lot of room for Canadians to scold the Israelis on their "bubble". The Middle East peace process, at least, is unlikely to lead to (for example) a global food shortage and massive famines.
But wait. Deep down (you can almost hear the outside world ask), don't Israelis know that finding peace with the Palestinians is the only way to guarantee their happiness and prosperity? Well, not exactly. Asked in a March poll to name the "most urgent problem" facing Israel, just 8% of Israeli Jews cited the conflict with Palestinians, putting it fifth behind education, crime, national security and poverty. Israeli Arabs placed peace first, but among Jews here, the issue that President Obama calls "critical for the world" just doesn't seem — critical.
Canada's bubble--and the lack of urgency towards global climate change and shutting down the tar sands--is far more damning, frankly.