The recently-released Central Bureau of Statistics Social Survey for 2017 includes questions about issues related to health. It is interesting to compare the results for the different populations in Israel and in Jerusalem. The topic of health is especially intriguing with respect to the Haredi population, since it is difficult to evaluate the scope of its members’ utilization of health services, specifically preventive services.

When women aged 40 and older were asked whether they had ever had a mammogram – a diagnostic test for breast cancer – 80% of the non-Haredi women in Israel responded in the affirmative, as opposed to 50% of Haredi women and 54% of Arab women. The percentages are lower in Jerusalem, where 44% of the Haredi women and 42% of the Arab women responded that they had ever had a mammogram.

With respect to a colonoscopy – a diagnostic test for colon cancer – according to the survey only 21% of the Haredi population aged 40 and older had ever had the test, as opposed to 43% of the non-Haredi population. Among the Arabs in Israel, 27% have undergone the test. In Jerusalem, only 18% of the Haredim, 53% of the non-Haredim, and 19% of the Arabs have had the test.

Since the purpose of both these tests (mammography and colonoscopy) is early detection, it was also of interest to look into the issue of vaccinations for children. It emerged that both the Haredi and non-Haredi population vaccinated their children at the same rate – 94% stated that they vaccinate their children according to the recommendations of the Family Health Centers (“Tipat Halav”). In Jerusalem as well, the vast majority of respondents said that they vaccinated their children.

However, over all, higher percentages of Haredim than non-Haredim declared that their health is good: 74% of Haredim in Israel stated that they are generally in very good health as opposed to only 51% among non-Haredim. Among the Arabs, only 47% stated that their health is very good. In Jerusalem, 81% of Haredim responded that their state of health is very good, as opposed to 51% of non-Haredim – similar to the situation in the entire country. Among the Arabs in Jerusalem, 36% responded that their state of health is very good.

So is health a matter of diagnosis or of faith? According to the survey, each Jewish population group has its own answer. Among the Arab population, it is compelling to note the prevailing situation in Jerusalem: When it comes to health, as is the case with respect to other quality-of-life parameters, its situation is less good than that of all the Arabs in Israel.
We should be healthy!

Translated by Gilah Kahn