Photo Credit: FLASH90
Corrupted we stand. Defense Minister Bogie and Prime Minister Bibi during a Knesset vote on Israel's budget. The Jewish state is ranked among those with a high risk of corruption in defense-related policy.

Five Arab League members: Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iraq and Syria, are among the bottom ten in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index issued by Transparency International.

However, United Arab Emirates, 22nd among the least corrupt countries, and Qatar, 28th, are ahead of Israel which ranks 36th – on a list of 175 countries.

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Yes, we could do much better.

No ifs and buts.

Because of its nature, corruption is difficult to measure objectively. Transparency International’s index receives assessments from experts and business people: “those who are most directly confronted with the realities of corruption in a country.”

“The Corruption Perceptions Index is based on experts’ opinions of public sector corruption. Countries’ scores can be helped by strong access to information systems and rules governing the behavior of those in public positions, while a lack of accountability across the public sector coupled with ineffective public institutions hurts these perceptions,” reads their press release.

In the Corruption Perceptions Index 2013, Denmark and New Zealand tie for first place with scores of 91. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia make up the worst performers, scoring just 8 points each.

The United States is 19th, with a score of 73. the UK is 14th with 76.

“The top performers clearly reveal how transparency supports accountability and can stop corruption,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International. “Still, the better performers face issues like state capture, campaign finance and the oversight of big public contracts, which remain major corruption risks.”

Corruption within the public sector remains one of the world’s biggest challenges, Transparency International said, particularly in areas such as political parties, police, and justice systems. Public institutions need to be more open about their work and officials must be more transparent in their decision-making. Corruption remains notoriously difficult to investigate and prosecute.

Two-thirds of parliament and legislatures fail to exercise sufficient control over their Ministry of Defense and the armed forces, according to Transparency International. Among those, 70 per cent of the largest arms importers in 2012 leave the door open to corruption.

Transparency International’s defense team identified seven areas in which parliaments may reduce corruption in defense:

a) Budget oversight & debate

b) Budget transparency

c) External audit

d) Policy oversight & debate

e) Secret budgets oversight

f) Intelligence services oversight

g) Procurement oversight

The U.S. was rated among countries with Low risk of corruption in the area of defense, together with Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, France, Japan, Poland, Slovakia, South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan.

Alas, Israel is among the countries with a High risk of corruption in defense budgets, alongside Georgia, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nepal, Philippines, Russia, Serbia, Tanzania, Turkey and Uganda.

Naturally, in a country where the means of communications are owned by roughly five tycoons, this kind of news is dwarfed in comparison with, say, the urgent national need to draft yeshiva bochers…

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