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The National Digital Program of the Government of Israel

Open Government

The digital revolution and technological development, particularly the excellent platform provided by the internet, offer a unique opportunity for communication between numerous entities and for increased transparency and accessibility.

The infrastructure for innovative democracy is based on the principles of the open government concept – transparency and reportability, participation of the public, accountability and integrating innovative technologies into the interface between government and citizens. These principles are promoted, among other things, by the international Open Government Partnership, an initiative headed by governments and civic society social organizations in more than70 countries, among them Israel, which joined the Partnership in 2012[65].

The values underlying the open government principle go hand in hand with the achievements of the digital revolution – free flow of information and information sharing (subject to legal limitations regarding types of sensitive information); reducing distance, time and language barriers; and adoption of advanced technologies. Adopting the Open Government principle creates opportunities to advance data driven innovation that views the government as a supplier of information, and to promote public access to government databases with economic and social utilities. By opening government databases, the enormous amount of information collected by the government becomes an economic asset, the basis for developing innovative services that provide value to the citizens and to the economy[66]. Thus, for example, in 2012, the Transportation Ministry developed the Public Transportation Database that contains all the timetables and routes of public transportation operators and collects travel data from buses. This quickly led to myriad applications based on the information that provide public transportation passengers quality and up-to-date information about travel times.

According to government resolutions to promote an open government policy[67], and the government resolution to adopt a policy of public access to government databases[68], the Government ICT Authority is acting to promote initiatives in line with the principles of the Open Government Partnership. Thus, use of digital means will be expanded in the aim of increasing government transparency, government ministries will act to enable public access to government databases and initiatives will be advanced to increase public involvement in decision-making processes. Furthermore, the Government ICT Authority is formulating a government open code policy, in coordination with the Accountant General Division and in cooperation with government ministries. The government will also act to open and make accessible the necessary infrastructures to ensure the success of these steps, for example portals for displaying up-to-date and reliable government information and public engagement platforms. 
(headed by the Government ICT Authority)

This website, that displays reliable and authorized government information for use by the general public, is a renewed version of the original website that was established following a decision of a Minister’s Committee in 2010. The information provides access to government databases in an open code portal, which gives users a free hand to develop applications and systems (API).

Relief in Doing Business

The extent to which it is difficult to do business has a significant effect on the incentive to establish and manage a business and on the ability to attract foreign businesses to Israel, and as such is directly related to employment, productivity and growth. Israel is ranked 52 out of 190 on the World Bank Ease

The government has already taken action to address this situation, following the government resolution to encourage new business[70] aimed at helping new businesses establish sustainable operations, increase their survival rate and expand employment. This resolution, alongside prior programs addressing this issue, aims to simplify processes for opening a business, to advance supporting regulation, to reduce the bureaucratic burden and to make engagement with the public sector more efficient, quick and convenient. These steps are in line with the possibilities created by the digital revolution. Thus, through using digital tools it is possible, among other things, to accelerate processes for opening a business, to create a friendly and available interface with various government offices and to make information needed for doing business accessible.

An interface between the government and the business sector (G2B) is currently under development, headed by the Government ICT Authority. The first project launched was an interface between the banks and the Registrar of Pledges in the Ministry of Justice. The G2B interface is a network that enables a secure dedicated connection between government ministries and the business sector (banks, credit companies, investment houses, etc.), using standards accepted by all entities involved subject to regulation. This will also allow for the provision of additional services, perhaps not offered yet. The degree of difficulty entailed in opening and managing a business on the World Bank Doing Business Index is based on many factors pertaining to tax payments, international trade, contract enforcement and bankruptcy[71]. Future measures as part of the Initiative will focus on advancing these areas in an attempt to ease doing business, for example by offering online services for registering a business or paying taxes.

Digital Business Licensing 
(in cooperation with the Interior Ministry, the Prime Minister’s Office and the government agencies involved in the licensing procedure

Business licensing is often a long, complex and costly bureaucratic process involving numerous entities. In order to improve this process the Bureau is leading a project to characterize and plan an online system that will connect all entities involved in the licensing process, and will enable business owners to submit the application digitally and to follow the status of their application at every stage.