Olmert corruption trial.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israel is one of the least corrupt countries in the Middle East, according to an index published on Wednesday.
The results, published by Transparency International, did however say that Israel dropped a spot from 36 to 37 out of 175 places in the rankings since last year and is 24th out of 34 OECD countries.
The United Arab Emirates (25) and Qatar (26) topped Israel.
The 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index is based on polling of experts on their opinion on public sector corruption in each country.
A poor score is the result of “prevalent bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs,” according to Transparency International.
The organization said that the countries that scored well must not rest on their laurels; rather, they should make efforts to stop encouraging corruption elsewhere by working harder to prevent money laundering and other means of masking corruption through the use of foreign companies based where such practices are tolerated or harder to track.
Israel scored significantly better than neighbors Jordan (55), Lebanon (136), and war-torn Syria (159). Egypt, though ranked 94, marked a strong improvement over 2013, when it was ranked 114. Turkey was 53rd, while Iran was 144. The Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip were not ranked in the survey.
More than two-thirds of the 175 countries scored below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean). Israel scored 61, which Denmark came in first with a score of 92 and North Korea and Somalia, as in years past, were in last place with scores of 8.