Transparency International's annual Corruption Perceptions Index ranks Israel 36th out of 177 countries, giving it a score of 61 out of 100 for its level of transparency. This suggests a minor improvement from last year when Israel was ranked 39th with a score of 60. However, 64% of OECD members were rated above Israel.
Transparency International's annual Corruption Perceptions Index ranks more than four-fifths of countries in the Middle East below 50 on a scale where zero is a country perceived to be highly corrupt and 100 perceived to be very clean.
The Berlin-based institute measures perceptions of graft rather than actual levels due to the secrecy that surrounds most corrupt dealings.
Denmark and New Zealand tied for first place with scores of 91, followed by Finland, Sweden and Norway. Australia and Canada tied in ninth with scores of 81. Britain was 14th with 76 and the United States tied with Uruguay in 19th place with a score of 73.
Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia tied for last place with scores of 8.
The anti-graft organisation said Spain was the second biggest loser of points alongside Gambia, Mali, Guinea-Bissau and Libya. The only country to tumble further was Syria, rocked by civil war.
Greece remained the European Union state with the highest perceived level of corruption, although its four-point gain to 40 points helped it rise to 80th place from 94th in 2012.
The biggest improver on points was Myanmar, which emerged from 49 years of military rule in 2011. The Southeast Asian state gained 6 points, taking it to 157 from a previous 172.
Among the major global economies, the United States ranked 19 and China 80, both unchanged from last year, Russia improved slightly to joint 127th place, from a previous 133 and Japan slid one spot to 18.
Yoav Lehman, Israel's former Supervisor of Banks, told Ynet: "We're no banana republic, but we’re still ranked in the bottom third group of OECD nations. The problem is the whole perception of connections and back-room deals which is too prevalent in Israel. Citizens feel that without connections they can't get what they are entitled to, and this needs to change."
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