- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

When it comes to the threat of corruption, Israel’s defense sector faces the greatest risk, according to a new report from a watchdog group that’s dedicated to assessing how easy it is to infiltrate and corrupt government bodies around the world.

Transparency International, a group based in the United Kingdom, found in it is latest Global Corruption Report that the Knesset has little to no influence over defense policies and that the defense minister — currently Ehud Barak — more often than not shies from helping government oversight committees accomplish their watchdog tasks, according to a report in Israel National News. Authors of the report also criticized the Defense Ministry’s bloated budget, seen as easing the path toward unaccountability.

Defense officials rallied against the findings.

“The Defense Ministry can’t be as transparent as any other ministry because we’re dealing with security and operational issues” that demand secrecy, the former director general of the Ministry of Finance, Yaacov Lifshitz, told Israel National News. Mr. Yaacov also said the defense “budget is transparent. Those who have to know, do know.”

The report rates 82 countries. The findings on Israel, put in context, may not be so significant after all. On its website, Transparency International reports that fully “70 percent of governments fail to protect against the corruption in the defense sector.”