Israel lagging in fiscal freedoms

Israel's 6.5 score tied it with Sri Lanka and placed it just behind Egypt, Turkey, Botswana and Lithuania, which all received 6.6 ratings.

Canadian-based Frasier Institute and economist Milton Friedman oversaw the survey, which ranks economic freedom by criteria such as government control of banks and foreign currency restrictions.

Israel's score was hurt because the survey was conducted before the government liberalized the foreign-exchange regime and sold control of Bank Hapoalim. The government lifted nearly all remaining foreign-exchange controls in May 1998.

Some of the other reasons cited for Israel's low rating include high marginal tax rates, too many state-owned companies, trade barriers and excessive price monitoring by the government.