Israel is the sixth healthiest country in the world, according to a Bloomberg survey of 145 nations that focused on the quality of healthcare citizens enjoy and their overall health. Singapore came in first, having scored 89.45%. Israel's grade was 85.97%.
Although the Israeli citizens scored 91.97% on their Total Health Score, one of the highest, Bloomberg gave Israel a 6% Health Risk Factor, which lowered the overall score, called the Health Grade. The Health Risk Factor reflects the percentage of the general population who are active smokers, the overall diabetes morbidity rate, as well as the prevalent diet and the frequency of physical exercise.
A recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report found that Israel's hospitals are among the world's most crowded. The organization also noted that total public expenditure on health care as a percentage of the gross domestic product is relatively low and that there is a shortage of practicing physicians, nurses and insufficient medical technology.
Italy, Australia, Switzerland and Japan are listed right after Singapore but above Israel, in descending order, with each scoring 89.07%, 88.33%, 88.29% and 86.83% respectively. Israel beat Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, France and the U.S. The latter ranks 33, with a score of 66.84%, but has a health risk factor that is almost identical to Israel's (6.12%), according to the survey.
African nations, among them Mozambique, Congo and Swaziland, close the list.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Israel's high marks on Sunday. "This survey demonstrates that the government's actions to reinforce the health system are achieving results," Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook profile.
The report, which is based on data compiled by the World Bank, the United Nations and the World Health Organization, refers to the past five years and is current for May 22, 2012. All nations with a population of over 1 million were surveyed. Among the indicators used were life expectancy, infant mortality rate, immunization rates, obesity levels, alcohol consumption, and various health-care statistics such as the prevalence of patients with high cholesterol and raised blood pressure. Environmental factors were also examined. The role of war-related injuries as a cause of death were not factored in.
When it comes to gasoline prices, Israel is the third most expensive country, Bloomberg says. In a separate survey released by Bloomberg Rankings on Sunday, the organization says "gas prices [in Israel] have led to widespread discontent and political demonstrations over the cost of living. Prime Minister Netanyahu has intervened to prevent prices from rising with the global price of oil." The figures refer to the period between July 9 and July 23, 2012.
The Bloomberg Gas Price Ranking is based on data gathered by Bloomberg and a host of international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, Associates for International Research Inc., and Europe's Energy Portal. Bloomberg says only Turkey and Norway (which tops the list) had higher rates at the pump. Venezuelans can fill their cars at the cheapest rate.
The survey also includes a separate analysis it calls "pain at the pump," which ignores the nominal values in favor of a comparative look at the purchasing power of drivers in each country by focusing on the percentage of average daily income needed to buy a gallon of fuel in each country. According to that criteria, Israel is only the 31st most expensive country when it comes to average gas prices.
This appears to put things in perspective, due to the distorted picture one might get by simply looking at the rate of the quoted prices at the pump. For example, fuel in Egypt is much cheaper than in Israel, but the average daily income there is much lower. Therefore, Egyptians experience much more "Pain at the Pump" and Egypt ranks 14th in that category.
On the other hand, in Norway, which is not dependent on outside energy producers, the price of fuel is the highest, because profits generated by the oil industry are used to fund free higher education and national infrastructure projects. Israel, which is heavily dependent on oil imports, is like Turkey in terms of the pinch people feel in their pockets.
Residents in Venezuela and the oil-rich Arabs states enjoy the best rates. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were cited as examples.