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Freedom House ranks Israel as region’s only ‘free’ state

Israel is the Middle East’s only “free” state, the US-based Freedom House wrote in its annual report last week, a ranking in stark contrast to claims by the country’s critics – both domestic and international – who argue that the Jewish state’s democratic values are steadily eroding “Israel remains the region’s only free country,” read the report, called Freedom in the World 2013, released just days before Israel goes to the polls.
“In recent years, controversies have surrounded proposed laws that threatened freedom of expression and the rights of civil society organizations,” the report read.
“In most cases, however, these measures have either been quashed by the government or parliament, or struck down by the Supreme Court. Israeli politics have also been roiled by an escalating controversy over the role of ultra-Orthodox Jews and their positions on issues such as military service and gender equality.”
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