The Corruption Perceptions Index for 2012 ranks Israel
in the 39th place out of 178 countries in terms of its level of transparency and efforts to tackle corruption. Israel received a score of 60 out of 100, a slight improvement compared to its score of 58 in 2011.
Nonetheless, Israel continues to fall behind other countries in the world after ranking 36th in 2011 and 30th in 2010.
The Global Corruption Report, produced by the Transparency International (TI) organization, ranks the world's countries according to perceived levels of public corruption.
The ranking is based on interviews with businesspeople and politicians inside and outside the reviewed country, and surveys conducted by research institutes, economic institutions and universities worldwide.
A country or territory’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0-100, where 0 means that a country is perceived as highly corrupt and 100 means it is perceived as very clean.
Denmark, Finland and New Zealand tie for first place in the 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index, with scores of 90, helped by strong access to information systems and rules governing the behavior of those in public positions.
Sweden ranks fourth with a score of 88, followed by Singapore (87), Switzerland (86), Australia and Norway (85), and Canada and the Netherlands (84).
Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia once again cling to the bottom rung of the index with a score of 8.
Out of the 37 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Israel ranks 24th.
Israel still ranks higher than its neighboring countries in terms of corruption, with Jordan
reaching the 58th place (with a score of 48), Egypt
in the 118th place (32), Lebanon
in the 128th place (30), and Syria
in the 144th place (26).
TI representatives in Israel commented on the report's results, voicing their concern over the fact that the Jewish state's position has not improved in recent years.
"The fact that Israel is not moving up in the Global Corruption Perceptions Index is troubling and requires real action for improvement," said Yoav Lehman, the former supervisor of banks and a member of the association's executive committee in Israel.
"The issues of public funds and budget allotment are not sufficiently transparent. The figures exist, but it's very hard to get the real picture and trace the money," added Lehman.
"The phenomenon of the capital being close to the government is pretty prevalent in Israel. Increasing transparency could help us minimize the damage caused by this phenomenon."
TI Israel CEO Galia Sagi chose to link the report's results to the upcoming Knesset elections, saying that the "return of public figures who have been convicted of criminal offenses to the public arena, as if it is a natural thing, is extremely severe.
"The incorruptibility of public figures must be seen as a priority of utmost importance – and the Israeli public must demand this from those receiving its vote."