As an orthodox who is often openly critical of the morals of orthodox Jews and of various other issues about Jews, Judaism and Israel, Shalom's blog below about the honesty of the winner of the Hidon HaTenakh reminded me that it was high time I wrote a piece of why I am proud to be Jewish, and why we can all take pride about the moral values of our people.
The British "Sky News" recently reported about an honesty experiment that was done in Britain (see http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-1260939,00.html). Essentially, valuable items such as mobile phones, PDA's and wallets, with the owners' contact details clearly available, were left on busy city streets. Without going into details, suffice it to say that the British public failed the test miserably.
I believe that the Israeli people would have passed this test with flying colors. I obviously do not have any hard evidence about this and I am aware of all the taxi driver stories and the corruption in government, and I'm not naïve, but I have much of my own anecdotal evidence. I've got my own taxi driver story (the time I was halfway down the highway on a long journey in a taxi when I realized I left my wallet at home), the time I lost a credit card on a public bus and the way little children can eat goods in a supermarket before they have been paid for.
We are certainly not perfect, and while we do not always behave as a light unto the nations, we can be very proud of the good we have given and continue to give.