Determining the Middle Eastern country most similar to East Asia requires considering various social, cultural, economic, and political factors.
One way to answer this complex question is by analyzing the data from the Country Similarity Index. The index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries, using a variety of statistics from five broad categories: demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography.
(East Asian countries are defined as China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan)
Although Israel is far different from East Asia, it has a few interesting parallels with the region. They have a few traits in common in terms of culture, government, and infrastructure.
Most people in Israel are Jewish, however the country has the highest percentage of irreligious people in the Middle East. East Asian countries are well-known for not being nearly as religious as some other regions. Therefore, their people tend to be less conservative than many Arab countries. Another aspect that Israel has in common with East Asia is martial arts. Israel even developed its own martial arts, known as Krav Maga. Judo is popular in both Israel and most East Asian countries as well.
Most countries in the Middle East criminalize same sex relationships, but allow polygamy. Israel, like East Asian countries, does not criminalize same sex relationships, but criminalizes polygamy. Furthermore, alcohol is not significantly restricted in Israel and East Asia, in contrast to many Muslim countries, where alcohol is prohibited.
Israel and East Asian nations share significant economic success and global recognition for innovation and technology. Israel boasts a thriving tech sector and a high density of successful startups. Israel’s technological advancements have propelled it to high levels of economic development, distinguishing it from certain Middle Eastern countries facing distinct economic challenges. Similarly, East Asian nations tend to be renowned for their leadership in global technology and innovation. Both regions prioritize education, particularly in STEM fields, with strong education systems.
The Most Similar East Asian Country to Israel
The Country Similarity Index suggests that South Korea is the most similar East Asian country to Israel. Both countries are classified as highly developed countries with strong economies. They have experienced rapid economic growth and industrialization, leading to advanced technological sectors and innovation. They also have mandatory military service for their citizens, since they border countries that are hostile to their existence. In addition, a high percentage of Koreans are Christians, so they share Abrahamic values.