As Israelis ready to head to the polls, Freedom House provides the salutary note here confirming that Israel is the only free state in the Middle East.
While the haters will brush this information aside, the more silent majority will take this in the context of the disaster in Algeria, the Islamist problems in Mali and the inflammatory protests in London.
As the J Post article states
“Israel is the Middle East’s only “free” state, the US-based Freedom House wrote in its annual report last week, a ranking in stark contrast to claims by the country’s critics – both domestic and international – who argue that the Jewish state’s democratic values are steadily eroding “Israel remains the region’s only free country,” read the report, called Freedom in the World 2013, released just days before Israel goes to the polls.
“In recent years, controversies have surrounded proposed laws that threatened freedom of expression and the rights of civil society organizations,” the report read.
“In most cases, however, these measures have either been quashed by the government or parliament, or struck down by the Supreme Court. Israeli politics have also been roiled by an escalating controversy over the role of ultra-Orthodox Jews and their positions on issues such as military service and gender equality.”
Israel’s ranking is completely dissimilar to that given the West Bank and Gaza – one under Palestinian Authority control and the other under Hamas rule – which are both classified as “not free.”
Likewise, the report found, Israel is surrounded by countries where freedom is not exactly the watchword. The report, which ranks the world’s countries by political rights and civil liberties, characterized Jordan and Syria as “not free,” and Egypt and Lebanon as “partly free.”