Israel’s era of fax communication comes to an end

"It is time to move forward and adjust to today's era of technology," MK Sharren Haskel said

July 28, 2019 01:03
1 minute read.
Israel’s era of fax communication comes to an end

Fax machine . (photo credit: PIXABAY)

Israel might be the Start-Up Nation, famed for its technology and innovation, but the era of communicating with government bodies via fax came to an end only on Friday.

One year after the “Fax Machines Law” – initiated by Likud MKs Sharren Haskel and David Bitan – was passed by the Knesset, public authorities must now enable all individuals and organizations to contact them by means of a digital communication device. Prior to the law, government ministries and public bodies would often require official forms to be submitted by fax, despite most Israeli homes no longer possessing a fax machine.

The requirement to enable digital communication applies to nearly all government ministries and bodies, public-facing IDF departments, the President’s Office, the Knesset Administration, the State Comptroller’s Office, courts, Israel Police, local authorities, the National Fire and Rescue Authority, Israel Prison Service, hospitals and health clinics, and government-controlled companies.

Prior to the law taking effect, public bodies were instructed to consider methods to verify the identity of members of the public, protect their privacy, including the assurance of medical confidentiality and cyber-protection.

The law does not apply to a small number of government bodies, including Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), Mossad, Atomic Energy Commission and National Cyber Authority. Banks, insurance companies and credit card providers will also not be obligated to provide digital means of communication.

“It is time to move forward and adjust to today’s era of technology – we are in the Israel of 2019, everyone works with emails and faxes are a thing of the past,” said Haskel, a member of the 20th Knesset’s Special Committee for the Transparency and Accessibility of Government Information.

“We are putting an end to the bureaucratic excuse: ‘We did not receive your fax.’ In the Start-Up Nation of 2019, the public sector and government offices are perceived as slow and outdated, and their interface is cumbersome,” Haskel said. “Efficient services, quality and government available to the citizen help to establish and strengthen Israel’s democracy and it is our duty to ensure their proper existence.”

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