12% of Israelis admit paying bribes

Political parties and religious organizations are perceived as Israel's most corrupt public institutions.

12% of Israelis paid a bribe in the past year, and political parties and religious organizations are perceived as Israel's most corrupt public institutions, according to the Global Corruption Barometer 2013 published today by Transparency International. The survey examines the dimensions of corruption in different areas, including giving bribes at various public institutions and the level of government corruption. Transparency International Israel is the local branch of the organization.

12% of the respondents said that they paid a bribe in the past year. Almost one in ten Israelis (9%) who came in contact with government real estate services said that they paid a bribe. Israel is below the global average of 27% of respondents who reported paying a bribe in the past year.

The Global Corruption Barometer examined the public's perception of corruption in public institutions. Although the survey found an improvement in the public's perception of political parties, they are still perceived as Israel's most corrupt public institution. The 2010 survey put political parties in first place, with a score of 4.5 (out of 1-5), they had a score of 4.2 in the 2013 survey, still the highest score of public institutions.

Religious institutions (the Rabbinate and the Ministry of Religious Affairs) are in second place, with a score of 4.1. They were followed by public servants, with a score of 3.7; the police, the legislature, the business/private sector, and the media each had a score of 3.5; and the judiciary had a score of 2.9. The army closed the list, with a score of 2.6.

For the first time, this year the survey examined the public's perception of government and the public administration's conduct. 73% of Israelis believe that the government is run by a coterie of special interests controlled by foreign interests. In the world, Scandinavian countries had the lowest (ranging from 14% to 28%).

89% of Israelis believe that personal connections or the use of power are essential for promoting their interests vis-à-vis the authorities. This is the highest percentage of all the countries covered by the Global Corruption Barometer; the global average is 63%.

The proportion of Israelis who believe that individual citizens can influence the level of corruption fell to 67% from 72% in the 2010 report. The level in Israel is similar to the global level. 60% of respondents said they would pay more for goods from companies that are not corrupt. This figure is 6% above the global average.

54% of respondents worldwide in the Global Corruption Barometer said that the struggle against corruption was ineffective, compared with 22% of respondents who said that it was effective. Israel is poorly positioned on this point: 71% of Israelis believe that the government's anti-corruption efforts are very ineffective, compared with 11% who believe that they are effective.

Globally, the police is perceived most corrupt institution, with 31% of respondents saying that they paid bribes to police officers. The judiciary is in second place with 24%. Liberia and Sierra Leone are the most corrupt of the 107 countries in the Global Corruption Barometer.

Transparency International has published the Global Corruption Barometer for eight years. The 2013 survey covered 114,000 respondents in 107 countries between September 2012 and March 2013. The Israeli survey included 1,004 respondents via online questionnaires.

Transparency International Israel director Galia Sagi said, "The Global Corruption Barometer has serious findings about the public's trust in the political and public system. The report found that the public does not believe that it can receive proper service from the public sector without the use of personal connections and bribery. The best way to prevent such cases is through full transparency by government and public institutions.

"We call on the government to act transparently and to publish the minutes of committee meetings, including the ministerial legislative committee. We also call on MKs to disclose their capital statements to the public, and to adopt a code of ethics in the Knesset. We are about to have local elections. The public should put the issue of ethics on the agenda and vote only for corruption-free candidates."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 9, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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