Photo Credit: Flash 90
The Jaffa Gate entrance of Jerusalem's Old City. (Illustrative only)

( InterNations, an organization that “helps expats to feel at home abroad, meet people and find information about their new environment,” whose slogan reads: “Making life easier for expats,” believes the best place in the world for a foreign family to settle is Austria. This year’s InterNations Expat Insider survey gave Austria the best results for the availability of childcare and education, with 74% and 76% positive ratings, respectively.

The survey did note that “the country still has to improve its attitude towards families with children. All in all, 11% give Austria a negative rating for this aspect. Friendliness in Austria leaves a lot to be desired anyway: 31% rate the friendly attitude towards foreign residents negatively and 24% are unhappy with the general friendliness of the population.”


With those complex notes in mind, we may be better able to appreciate the fact that Israel this year ranks 4th on the same InterNations index, behind Finland and Sweden. Israel scored third in a column titled “Family Well-Being,” 13th in “Cost of Childcare and Education,” and a disappointing 16th in “Quality of Education.” Nevertheless, no one says Israelis have a lot to learn about being friendly to children and to foreigners.

For being an immigrant state that goes out of its way to discriminate in favor of one group, Israel still receives high grades in treatment of immigrants of all colors and creeds. From its 4th place spot, Israel has earned the right to look down on France in 8th place, the UK in 22nd, the US in 25th place, and Saudi Arabia which concludes the list in 41st place.

The organization does point the difference in terms of ease of integration between Jews and non-Jews in Israel:

“Moving to Israel is a decision that has benefited Jewish immigrants, as well as expatriates in search of new career opportunities in the Middle East’s high-tech hub.” Except that “moving to Israel may have positive connotations – or conjure up negative images: For thousands of … people of Jewish descent … settling in Israel was the right choice. It provided a new home far from the unpleasant memories … Security-conscious expats, however, may worry about their move to Israel. From news headlines, they’ll remember harrowing accounts of suicide bombings that killed civilians, heated debates about the plight of refugees in Gaza, or close-ups of Palestinian teens throwing stones at armed soldiers. Thus, expatriates are often concerned about their personal safety.”

Here’s something we didn’t know: “Visitors and expats with a Palestinian ID number (or with parents or grand-parents still living in Gaza or the West Bank) are required to carry a Palestinian passport, even if they are citizens of another country.”

Still, Israel managed to score among the countries that are most favored by immigrants despite the fact that, as InterNations puts it, “life in Israel attracts poor migrant workers from countries like China, Nigeria, the Philippines, Romania, or Thailand.”

And Eritrea, the Sudan and most of the rest of East Africa, which the website fails to mention. Is it possible that, in the end, Israelis are the nicest people in the world to foreigners? Ask the UN to take a vote on it…

Family Life Index 2015


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