Have you ever wondered how similar or different two countries are? The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. It weighs equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The methodology is exactly the same for each country. The research combines 1,000 different data points to arrive at the conclusions.
Top 10 Countries Most Similar to Israel
Israel is a Middle Eastern country. However, it is one of the most unique countries in the world, so no countries are especially similar to it, since their people have a distinct religion and customs. The five most similar countries to Israel all border the Mediterranean Sea, although they are on three different continents. Much of their agriculture consists of the cultivation of olives and wheat. In addition, top five countries are democracies as well.
- Tunisia‘s climate and geography are quite similar to Israel, despite not bordering it. Both countries are mostly barren desert, but also have a significant portion of agricultural land. In addition, Israel and Tunisia have the most democratic governments in the Middle East. Although the countries do not have the most friendly relations, it is one of the few Muslim countries that allows Israelis to enter their country. However, the standard of living in Tunisia is lower.
- Greece is the most similar country to Israel in Europe. It is another country that does not have the best relationship with Muslim countries in its vicinity. Both have unicameral parliaments with similar laws. Their populations also have similar ancestry. However, Greece is not as wealthy. Furthermore, Greece is more successful in sports and founded the Olympics, while Israel only has one Olympic gold medal.
- Italy is another highly developed, European country on this list. There is some evidence that a large portion of the Jewish population in Europe originated in Italy. Despite practicing different religions and speaking a vastly different language, the people of both countries do have cultural similarities. Both enjoy soccer and basketball as well. In addition, Italy’s agriculture is like Israel’s since they both grow predominately wheat and olives. However, it gets much more rainfall than Israel on average.
- Cyprus was also a British controlled territory before it became partitioned between Muslims and another dominant ethnic group, like Israel. The countries have similar demographics. However, the technology in Cyprus is significantly different from Israel, since they drive on the left and use Type G electrical outlets, due to greater British influence. Its military is not as advanced either.
- Lebanon is just to the north of Israel. It is another densely populated country bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Israel and Lebanon have significant cultural similarities despite their religious differences. However, the standard of living in Lebanon is lower. Its government is also less democratic and much more corrupt. Still, the people in both countries natively speak Semitic languages, although they use a different writing script.
- Jordan, 7. Montenegro, 8. Croatia, 9. Spain, 10. Slovenia
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Israel
They least similar countries to Israel tend to be quite poor and their infrastructure is not well developed. Four of the five are predominately Christian countries. These countries also have adopted the Latin alphabet. In contrast to Israel, all these countries are heavily forested and get far more rainfall as well.
- Papua New Guinea is by far the least similar country to Israel. It is a Melanesian country located in the Pacific Ocean. In contrast to the dry climate of Israel, it is one of the wettest countries on Earth. While Israel is highly developed, Papua New Guinea has little infrastructure. Its technology standards are also different. It drives on the left and uses Type I electrical outlets.
- Solomon Islands is very similar to Papua New Guinea. It is another tropical Christian country in the Pacific Ocean. It also has one of the lowest percentages of immigrants in the world, in contrast to Israel. However, most of its population is close to the coastline and it has mountainous terrain. Both governments are also democratic, although the laws in Israel are significantly different.
- Democratic Republic of Congo is the least similar country to Israel in Africa. It is a heavily forested tropical country with little coastline in the middle of Africa. In contrast to Israel, most of its people are subsistence farmers that grow cassava, corn, and rice. The country has been ruled by an authoritarian dictator and it is also quite poor, despite being rich in natural resources.
- Central African Republic is just to the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is a landlocked and relatively flat country located in the middle of Africa. Most of its lands are savannas. It was once a French colony before becoming independent. Few people in the country have internet or even cell phones, unlike Israel. It also has a much younger population on average.
- Laos is the least similar country to Israel in Asia. Most of their people are Buddhist. It is landlocked and heavily forested country. It contrast to Israel, most of the country’s electricity is created by hydropower. It has a government dominated by a single communist party. However, one similarity is that both impose mandatory military service on males.
- Uganda 7. South Sudan, 8. Haiti, 9. Burundi, 10. Republic of Congo
Israel is like if Tunisia was more like Germany
According to the Index, the most similar country to Israel is Tunisia, however Israel is really unique. The data shows that Germany has many characteristics of Israel that Tunisia lacks. Interestingly enough, a significant percentage of Israelis are Ashkenazi Jews, who originated in Central Europe. Israelis and Germans tend to be more educated than Tunisians. They are also wealthier and most of their women are employed. Their technology is also far more advanced. Furthermore, Germans and Israelis tend to drink more alcohol than Tunisians. In addition, both countries have parliamentary governments.
All data accurate as of 2020.