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The National Digital Program of the Government of Israel


Chapter 3: Primary Goal – Friendly and Smart Government

Life nowadays includes numerous interface points between individuals and the state, with interaction taking place throughout the life cycle. As such, the State and local government have a vital impact on the standard of living and quality of life of their citizens, through the provision of public goods and improved interface between their institutions and the citizens that engage with them.

Recognizing this potential, the National Initiative set a goal: to act to improve public goods, to promote an advanced, accessible and convenient interface between individuals and government offices, and to reduce the bureaucracy entailed in this interface. Harnessing the “digital revolution” can help make government smart and friendly. For example, introducing digital tools into education, health and social service areas will improve their quality and advance their adaptation to changing needs and priorities in the current digital age; transforming government services into online services focused on the consumer at the center concept will help improve service to individuals and enable access of state and local government services to larger parts of the population, particularly weaker population groups; developing options to execute procedures with government agencies online, and providing access to business information will reduce the burden of bureaucracy and make it much easier to do business in Israel[60].

Using digital tools to streamline processes in the public sector will enable the government to reduce the bureaucratic burden, create significant budget saving sources and turn decision-making processes into information-based processes. This requires a cross-government process to recruit and develop quality human capital in the public sector.

Finally, use of digital means will enable the establishment of “open government”, which will facilitate increased public involvement in government work, thus helping to strengthen democracy. The effort to advance “open government” is led by the government ICT Authority, which acts to build a direct relationship between citizens and the government, and to increase citizens’ ability to make an impact. Involving the public in decision-making processes will strengthen its sense of commitment, belonging and connection to government policy. In leading countries, such actions were found to significantly increase civic satisfaction with the public sector, and these measures are therefore at the core of the strategic digitization programs of many countries[61].

The State of Israel’s strategic plan in the e-Government area was formulated by the Government ICT Authority. The plan stresses advancing the “Digital First” area in the public sector, providing quality service to citizens, transitioning to “open government”, integrating the concept of “information as an asset” into the public sector and strengthening governance. The plan also outlines several courses of action to support the realization of government policy, among them expanding shared services between government agencies, strengthening cyber protection and cultivating digital leadership and excellence[62].

photo: National e-Government programs Britain - Digital by Default (2012)

The State of Digitization of Government in Israel – Digital Delay Alongside Efforts for Change

In an international comparison, the state of digital government in Israel is unsatisfactory. While about 400 digital services are accessible to the public from start to finish, there is room to expand the offering of online government services and to increase their use by the public, while accelerating the adoption rate of digital tools in government offices and continuing the effort to simplify the bureaucratic labyrinth.  

Steps were taken in recent years to make government smarter and friendlier. As part of the National Initiative, the ICT Authority is taking action to make government services accessible through the transition to the new website that aggregates government services in one website. Efforts are also being invested to pool government resources and to improve technological infrastructures used by the government (for example, transition to a consolidated government cloud). Furthermore, all government offices are currently required to offer citizens an online communication channel as an alternative to the fax[63].

The Means to Turn Government into Smart and Friendly

To advance the transition to smart and friendly government, three objectives will be advanced as part of the National Initiative: