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State Honesty Ranking

30 August 2002

By Yisrael Ne’eman

Not all news is bad nor are all international ratings.  Transparency International recently surveyed 102 countries worldwide for levels of service given by the state to its citizens and rated the nations from the most honest to the most corrupt.  Israel was ranked in a respectable 18th place, tied with Germany and two down from the United States.  Finland took first place with Bangladesh and Nigeria at the bottom of the list.

Such surveys show up on page twelve in the average newspaper on a lucky day.  One radio commentator mentioned that the rating was not bad and cynically mentioned that it is nice to know that Israel has a more honest regime than any of those in the Third World.  He forgot to mention that Japan was given 20th, Italy 31st and Greece 44th.  Israel did far better than all Eastern European countries.  There were ties for many places within the first two dozen so Israel’s real ranking is in the mid-20’s.  But this is still far from unsatisfactory.

Let’s recall the vast majority of Israel’s population originated from a dictatorial Eastern Europe (usually communist) or from the despotic regimes of the Middle East.  Yet democracy, human rights, service to the public by officialdom and respect for the law are held in regard by a fair amount of Israelis. 

And all of this in the middle of a Palestinian terror offensive, Hizbollah cross border shellings and threats to exterminate the state by Iran and Iraq.  All that being said it is still important to remember there is plenty of room for improvement.