Israel May Be Eighth-ranked in Global Power, but It's Really Not Much Fun

While Israel gets high scores for military might and military relations, according to the Best Countries survey, its scores for friendliness and sexiness are way down.

Israeli soldiers on Gaza border.
Israeli soldiers work on their Merkava tanks at an army deployment point near the Israeli-Gaza border on August 20, 2014. AFP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took pride in informing his Likud Knesset colleagues on Monday that Israel was ranked as the eighth most powerful country in the world by an international Best Countries survey.

The survey was conducted by U.S. News and World Report magazine, in conjunction with BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

"Israel was ranked as the world's eighth strongest power on the basis of three things: Military might, international influence and – pay attention, this is what they said – international alliances," Netanyahu told the Likud Knesset caucus, according to the Ynet website.

"It wasn't I who chose to say that. They ranked us according to our international power and our international alliances," he said.

What the prime minister didn't mention was that power was just one of nine categories according to which the countries (60 in all) were ranked. Israel did less well as regards Open for Business (ranking 52 out of 60,) Cultural Influence (35) and quality of life (34).

Even in the Entrepreneurship category, an attribute in which Israel takes great pride, the country ranked 21 out of 60 – not even in the top third of the countries studied.

In the Adventure category – based on the attributes Fun, Scenic, Pleasant climate, Friendly and Sexy – Israel scored only 0.5 out of 10, with a ranking of 53. It got 0.9 (out of 10) for friendliness and zero for sexiness. So much for the charms of Tel Aviv.

Nor did Netanyahu mention some less than stellar points from the Power category, as Channel 10 TV pointed out on Monday night. Israel scored an overall 5.7 for power, making it the eighth most powerful country in the world, but that ranking was heavily biased by its 9.7 score for having a strong military.

It scored a lot less for other power attributes, including economic influence (2.5 out of 10) and, importantly, leadership – for which it only scored 2.7.

Overall, Israel took 25th spot in the Best Country rankings, higher than Mexico, Malaysia and Algeria (which came in last,) but below India, Brazil and Japan.

The Best Country, according to the survey, is Germany, followed by Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. The most powerful country is the United States, followed by Russia, China and Germany.