Israel ranked a low 39th out of 176 countries in a global measure of corruption released Wednesday by the anti-corruption watchdog group Transparency International.
Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, which gauges perceptions of public sector corruption around the world based on surveys taken of business executives and experts, also showed that Israel had made little progress in reducing the problem and performed poorly against the world’s most developed economies.
“The fact that Israel is treading water in the global corruption perception index is disturbing and requires concrete action to improve it,” Yoav Lehman, a former Bank of Israel banks supervisor and a member of the Transparency International Israel board said in a statement.
“Public money and the way in which budgets are allocated is not transparent enough. The data exist, but it is very difficult to get a true picture and to trace where the money goes,” he said.
Among the 37 countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Israel’s score of 60 ranked it 24th. Among Western countries only Italy, which ranked 72, and Greece, at 94, were perceived as more corrupt.
Even in the Middle East, an area that scores low for perceptions of corruption, Israel was outranked by two countries – the Gulf emirates of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, both of which ranked 27.
Transparency International said the results of the report indicated that corruption remains an entrenched part of the global economy. Despite the efforts of campaigners around the world, the Berlin-based organization’s index showed that two-thirds of the 176 nations surveyed had a score below 50, which means they are very corrupt.
“A growing outcry over corrupt governments forced several leaders from office last year, but as the dust has cleared it has become apparent that the levels of bribery, abuse of power and secret dealings are still very high in many countries,” Transparency International said on releasing the survey.
While Denmark, Finland and New Zealand once again topped the CPI, Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia were once again on the bottom rung of the index.
Based on a scale from zero (highly corrupt ) to 100 (very clean ), Denmark, Finland and New Zealand tied with a score of 90 points. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia each had a score of just eight.
Galia Sagy, the head of Transparency International’s branch in Israel, said Israeli voters should give higher priority to reducing corruption, but noted that the election campaign now underway points to a different direction entirely.
“The return of public figures who were convicted of crimes to the public sphere, as if this is the most natural thing, is very serious,” she said in a statement.
Worryingly, the survey showed that there has been little improvement in the corruption rankings of the countries that have emerged from the upheavals of the Arab Spring.
“Corruption is the world’s most talked about problem,” said Transparency International’s Managing Director Cobus de Swardt. “The world’s leading economies should lead by example.”
Western industrialized nations such as Switzerland, Canada, Australia and Sweden dominated the top 10 cleanest states again this year. But China – the world’s second biggest economy and a powerhouse of global growth – continued to languish well down in the rankings at number 80, with a score of 39 points. (Source)