ministers - Dror Artzi - October 22 2010
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, surrounded by ministers at Sunday’s cabinet meeting at Kibbutz Degania. Photo by Dror Artzi
Text size

Israel ranks among the most corrupt countries in the Western world, according to a study released by the International Transparency Organization on Tuesday.

Out of 178 countries - 1 being least corrupt - Israel was listed at number 30. But when compared to other member states of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Israel fared much worse.

The least corrupt countries were listed as Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore.

Israel received a score of 6.1 out of 10 in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which ranks countries according to the perception of corruption in the public sector.

That score positions Israel in the 22nd place out of 33 members of the OECD.

In May 2010, the OECD unanimously voted in favor of accepting Israel as a member of the group. However, Israel is the organization's poorest member, with the widest social gaps.

Israel's CPI score has not significantly improved since 2007. In 1997, Israel received a relatively high score of 7.9 ranking number 15 in the world, but has deteriorated considerably since then.

However, Transparency International identified Bhutan, Chile, Ecuador, Macedonia, Gambia, Haiti, Jamaica, Kuwait, and Qatar as states where improvement had been made over the past year.

"As opposed to Israel, other countries are improving, and that is a problem," said Transparency International Israel CEO Galia Sagi on Tuesday.

"Even though corruption is discussed and condemned, politicians are not doing enough to deal with it. If the political leadership does not prioritize this issue, nothing will change," said Sagi.

The United States, meanwhile, has dropped out of the "top 20" in a global league table of least corrupt nations, tarnished by financial scandals and the influence of money in politics.

The U.S. fell to 22nd from 19th last year, with its CPI score dropping to 7.1 from 7.5. This was the lowest score awarded to the U.S. in the index's 15-year history and also the first time it had fallen out of the top 20.