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Israel: Public Bodies Required to Provide Digital Access

(Sept. 27, 2018) On July 17, 2018, the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) passed the Law on Contacting Public Bodies by Means of Digital Communications, 5778-2018 (SEFER HAHUKIM [SH] [BOOK OF LAWS] (official gazette) 5778 No. 2744 p. 902, Ministry of Justice website (in Hebrew; click on issue No. 2744)).

The Law requires specified public bodies to be accessible to the public by “digital communication means” (DCMs) unless otherwise determined under any law or in accordance with a decision by a public body for reasons to be published on its internet site. (Id. § 2(a).) On matters in which a public body permits contact by facsimile, however, it cannot prohibit access by other DCMs. (Id.) The Law defines a DCM as a technological means selected by a public body to enable public access from any location via the internet, including by electronic mail and attached files. (Id. § 1.)

Public bodies subjected to the requirements of the Law generally include the following:

  1. Government agencies, excluding the General Security Service, Israel Special Intelligence Service, Atomic Energy Committee, National Cyber Directorate, Agency for Witness Protection, and departments in the Ministry of Defense that do not provide public services
  2. Israel Defense Force units that provide public services
  3. The President of the State office
  4. The Knesset administration
  5. The State Controller’s office
  6. Courts and tribunals and other bodies with adjudication authority
  7. The Israel Police unit for public complaints, Prisons Authority, and National Fire and Rescue Authority
  8. Local authorities
  9. Public hospitals and health funds
  10. Public companies (Id. supp.)

The Law generally requires specified public bodies to advertise on their websites the main types of public services they provide, their geographic locations, and the means of contacting them. (Id. § 3(a).)