Report: Israel More Than Twice as Free as Any Other Mideast Country

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israel is the freest country in the Mideast, but ranks as less free than most countries in the West, according to the Washington think-tank Freedom House on Thursday.

On a scale of 1 to 100, Israel scored 80, making it more than twice as free as Turkey (38) and eight times freer than Saudi Arabia (10), according to Freedom House’s annual report. Jordan came in third with 37, followed by Kuwait (36), Iraq (27), Iran (17) and Syria (-1).

The research group, which describes itself as “an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world,” uses a complex formula to rate freedom. Among the criteria are voting rights, political pluralism and participation in government, freedom of religion, and the rule of law.

However, compared to European and North American nations, Israeli democracy did not rate so highly. In those other regions, the countries all scored between 89 and 100, except for the Balkans and Greece, which were between 80 and 84.

Israeli media brought the national rating down, described in the report as only “partly free.”

Its full report on Israel will be published at a later date.