August 17, 2010 Tuesday 7 Elul 5770 12:31 IST
Israel 'world's 22nd best country'
By BEN HARTMAN AND DOV PREMINGER
Newsweek: Jewish state is best in the Middle East.
In spite of the ongoing security concerns and stifling heat, Israel is a pretty good place to live, or so says "Newsweek", which this week published a special article that rated Israel the 22nd best country in the world, and the best in the Middle East.
In an article entitled "The Best Countries in the World", Israel was sandwiched between Spain and Italy, scoring seventh in health, 25th in quality of life, and 15th in economic dynamism. In a rating that would surprise many Israelis, Newsweek ranked Israel a respectable 27th in political environment.
The next Middle East country to make the list was Kuwait at 40, while neighboring Jordan placed 53rd. Iran and Syria also made the list, ranked 79 and 83 respectfully.
The study followed a recently released Gallup poll which contended that Israel was the world's 8th happiest country, published in Forbes magazine.
Interestingly, the the "best" countries profiled in Newsweek's study showed marked correlation with the "happiest" countries measured in Gallup's poll, at least among the top-ranked contenders.
The United States and Britain placed 11 and 14 in the Newsweek study, compared with 14 and 17 on Gallup's list.
Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands were all in the top 10 in Newsweek's analysis, whereas they took top five in Gallup's. Iran was 79 on Newsweek's list, and 81 on Gallup's.
While the Gallup survey took a bottom-up approach, questioning thousands of respondents in 155 countries over four years, the Newsweek study took "several months" to compile with the aid of a Nobel laureate, a McKinsey & Co. director, and various university professors. The Newsweek study only listed the top 100 countries.
Newsweek ranked the "best countries" by how well they scored in five categories, which were: Education, health, quality of life, economic dynamism, and political environment. The rankings were based on international indices such as economic indicators, the Gini coefficient, the Innovation Index, and the Global Peace Index.
While Israel scored 22nd overall, it scored better in the health sub-ranking, in which it ranked seventh of 100.
Education was Israel's worst category out of the five studied, coming in at number 41, despite Israel having the highest ratio of university degrees to the population of any country in the world.
Because Israel does not administer a TIMMS or PISA test, its score according to the study was calculated by a regression of literacy rate and average years of schooling.