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Israel was ranked 33rd out of a list of 180 nations in the Transparency International 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index, published Tuesday.

On the index, the country with the highest ranking (lowest number) is considered the least corrupt. Denmark tops the list at number one, perceived as the least corrupt nation, while Somalia, considered the most corrupt, is at number 180.

In 2007, Israel was ranked 30th with a score of 6.1 out of 10, and in 2006 Israel ranked 34th with a score of 5.9.

The Corruption Perceptions Index is based on surveys conducted among businesspeople and experts from around the world regarding the level of corruption. The index compiles 13 different surveys, conducted by 11 separate research institutions.

The authors of the index arrived at Israel's score by cross-referencing six different surveys. The questionnaires focused on corruption in the public sector and among politicians. In the surveys, corruption is defined as the "abuse of public office for private gain"

Though Israel's ranking within the 19th percentile of the less corrupt nations is a good sign, the fact that several developing countries such as Chile and Uruguay precede it, indicates there is much room for improvement.

Since 1997, when the first Corruption Perceptions Index was released, Israel has gone from a score of 7.97 to this year's 6. However, in 1997 only 52 nations were ranked, and among them Israel was placed within the 29th percentile, from which it had risen since.

The top ten non-corrupt nations has remained unchanged over recent years. All the nations in the top ten, including Canada, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland, are members of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), a group of 30 developed nations, with New Zealand, Sweden and Singapore in the three top spots after Denmark.