It is frequently stated that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. I went to the experts about this topic. There are several institutes and research centers that evaluate freedom and democracy worldwide. I chose four of the leading such institutions. They are Freedom House from the US, the Economist Institute from the UK, V-Dem (Varieties of Democracy) from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and Democracy Matrix from Wurzburg University, Germany. The results are mainly 2023 results but some were from 2022.
Then I did two sets of comparisons. First, a comparison of Israel to its neighbors, most of its neighbors’ neighbors, and a few other prominent Middle East countries such as Iran and UAE. Secondly, a comparison of Israel to major developed democracies globally.
In the above table, I transformed each institute’s country result from 0 to 100. Then, I averaged the four values. Israel is way superior to all of these countries. Israel’s nearest rival, Lebanon, is more democratic than all of its Arab peers. It also shows that Iraq and Jordan are more democratic than Saudi Arabia and Syria.
Then I chose some major Western developed democracies, both West European and non-European. The procedure used was the same as that used for the Middle East country comparison. The results are below.
Israel is not far behind the US and Italy but considerably lags behind the countries that score in the high 80s or 90s. The Economist Institute rates Israel above both the USA and Italy and the University of Wurzburg rates Israel higher than the USA.
Wikipedia converts some of the institute’s results into an easy-to-read format. Here are the links used: