Israel on Tuesday became the first Middle Eastern country to sign the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) Anti-Bribery Convention. According to information released by the organization, following meetings held by OECD's Working Group on Bribery in Paris, Israel's signing of the convention and its participation in the meetings is "an important step in its accession to OECD membership." The 38th country to sign the convention, Israel was one of five states - with Chile, Estonia, Russia and Slovenia - that were formally invited last year to open membership talks with the OECD, as part of the its drive to "broaden and deepen its involvement with emerging new players in the global economy," said the organization. The OECD, which currently has 30 members, is an influential policy forum that aims to bring together world governments that are committed to democracy and boosting the market economy. Israel's application to join the organization has yet to be approved by member states. The Anti-Bribery Convention is part of the organization's drive to improve global governance, including preventing bribery through export credits; denying tax deductibility of bribes; preventing corruption in the public sector and improving governance through development assistance. Earlier this month, Israel's annual Corruption Index, published by organizers of the Sderot Conference on Social Affairs, found that 72 percent of Israelis rate corruption here as high or very high and 73% said that the level of corruption in government is much higher than it was in the past.