After a slew of public corruption trials and scandals, a recent survey by Transparency International found that Israel had dropped to its lowest ranking ever in an survey of corruption among the world’s nations. It ranked 36th of 183 (down from #30 two years ago). Among western nations (defined as being OECD members) it was ranked 25th of 34. When it was first surveyed in 1997, Israel was 15th among western countries. The actual mark it received was 5.8, down from 6.2 last time.
Haaretz asked the Israeli representative of Transparency:
Is Israel’s ranking likely to improve? Sagy seems skeptical. “We don’t see actions designed to halt the downward slide,” she said on Wednesday. The summer protests against the onerous cost of living in Israel also called for more transparency, she pointed out: The ties between wealth and government need to be severed, as corruption is one of the main causes of inequality.
It is, of course true that Israel has one of the widest disparities of wealth among western countries. A narrow band of oligarch-like families owns a huge percentage of the national wealth and infrastructure. And a recent Forbes Israel survey showed Israeli MKs like Silvan Shalom, Bibi Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and others to have tens of millions in assets. A survey of Israeli poverty also released today found that 10% of Israeli families go hungry and 20% suffer from “food insecurity.”