Israeli Jews are significantly healthier than Israeli Arabs both physically and emotionally, a Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) study released on Wednesday reveals. The CBS polled 200 experts from government ministries, the Bank of Israel, the academic sector, and the public sector for the study, which examines daily life in Israel.
Israel's overall health shows improvement, the study reveals. Life expectancy for Israeli men stands at 80.3, and Israeli women at 84.1 – 3.6 and 3.2 years longer than in 2000. However, significant gaps remain between Israeli Jews and Arabs, with Israeli Arab men living, on average, 4.3 years less than their Jewish counterparts; Israeli Arab women live 3.3 years less.
While infant mortality rates continue to fall nationwide, Israeli Arab babies are three more times as likely to die in infancy than their Jewish counterparts – a rate of 6% vs. 2.2%.
And while less than 1/3 (27%) of Israel's children were obese in 2012, Arab children were far more likely to be overweight than children from other minority groups. 39% of Arab seventh-graders and 24% of Arab first-graders were overweight that year, versus just 11% of Bedouins and 14% of haredi Jews.
Israeli Arabs were also more likely to suffer from emotional health issues than their Jewish counterparts. Nearly half (49%) of Israeli Arabs polled admitted suffering from depression, compared to just 31% of Israeli Jews and 34% overall. Nationwide, men were more likely to suffer from depression than women (39% and 27%); Israelis over 65 are 7% more likely to suffer from depression compared to Israelis ages 20-44.
The study airs Wednesday ahead of World Health Day (Thursday) – but also among a heated debate over the segregation of Israeli Arabs and Jews in hospital maternity wards nationwide.