Hebrew Internet domains are now available - act now to snatch Pets.Israel

A milestone moment for web surfers who primarily speak Hebrew or anyone else whose keyboard is stuck on the Northwest Semitic language setting.

 A HAREDI STUDENT works on a computer at the Jerusalem College of Technology. (photo credit: JCT)
A HAREDI STUDENT works on a computer at the Jerusalem College of Technology.
(photo credit: JCT)

As of Tuesday at 12 p.m. Israel time, you could register Internet domain names in Hebrew, with preexisting extensions, such as .co.il, .org.il and .ac.il, or the new extension .Israel, which is to be recognized as the top-level Internet domain of Israel.

After receiving approval from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers in 2020, the availability of Hebrew domain names has been long awaited by some and completely forgotten about by others. But the fact remains that those wishing to claim a URL in the modernized liturgical language of Judaism can now do so.

“Allocating the .Israel extension in Hebrew at the top-level domain of the Internet, and the possibility of registering domain names under this extension, will open up for Internet users in Israel a new layer of activity and access in the language spoken by the people,” said Yoram HaCohen, CEO of the Israel Internet Association (ISOC-IL)

“Allocating the .Israel extension in Hebrew at the top-level domain of the Internet, and the possibility of registering domain names under this extension, will open up for Internet users in Israel a new layer of activity and access in the language spoken by the people.”

Yoram HaCohen, CEO of the Israeli Internet Association

According to former National Cyber Directorate director-general Yigal Unna, “The addition of the .Israel extension enriches the opportunities for surfers and website owners in the Israeli cyberspace and strengthens its level of protection.”

The ability to be found more easily by Web users whose primary language is Hebrew is a great benefit to companies, organizations and even recipe bloggers who hope to increase their site traffic.

“Buying your [.Israel] Hebrew domain name could be very important if you have Hebrew-speaking customers and donors,” said Sarah Manning, an expert on marketing and search engine optimization (SEO).

“Many Israelis find it frustrating to change their typing language to English whenever they access the Internet, particularly when searching on mobile devices,” she said. “They prefer to type domain names and search for websites in Hebrew. Of course, Google prioritizes domain names as a key search criterion, so if you want to be found easily by Israelis using Google, using a domain name in Hebrew characters is a must.”

What coveted domain names are available?

Acting quickly could guarantee your shot at registering some of the most coveted domain names available, such as: Eretz.Israel; WhatAmIAFreier.Israel; AdvanceMuppetTrivia.Israel; RolodexErotica.Israel; and Pets.Israel.

You cannot buy Israeli-registered domain names through GoDaddy or other online domain sellers. Only resellers authorized by the ISOC-IL can sell Israeli domain names.

One such reseller is J-Town Internet Services, a Jerusalem-based senior digital agency. The company’s CEO, Charlie Kalech, said he spent three hours following the Hebrew domain-name launch, buying up every potentially hot domain name he could think of.

“This is virtual real estate,” Kalech said. “This is an asset.”

Companies are willing to pay big money to get their hands on the most appealing domain names, he said.

In 2009, for example, investor Rick Schwartz managed to trade the domain name “candy(dot)com” for a whopping $3 million. That’s a pretty serious opportunity, especially considering that purchasing an unregistered Hebrew domain name only costs about NIS 60 per year.

While the launch of new top-level domains (TLDs) is becoming more and more common, the .Israel TLD’s use of the Hebrew alphabet makes this event a little more unique, Kalech said.

Even though Hebrew letters have been recognized in domain names “for a while now,” the new availability could take off if the proper circumstances align, he said.

“It’s all speculative,” Kalech said, adding that he was now the proud owner of Sucariyot.Israel.

“I’m not expecting to get $3 million from it,” he said. “It’s a much more limited audience. But Nestle… Elite… someone’s going to buy it.”

And if or when they do, there could be a pretty decent payout involved.