The Communications Ministry said Wednesday it will allow the Israel Postal Company to go into the field of electronic mail, including the dispatch of secure "hybrid" mail, which integrates physical and electronic mail. The move is part of the ministry's policy to strengthen the company financially by expanding its services, and follows a worldwide trend of postal services entering the electronic mail field. The company receives the mail electronically, then prints letters and delivers them to the addressee. Initially, the ministry will limit the amount of copies that can be sent via hybrid mail to private and business customers, to prevent the company from entering the field of postal production and minimize competition in a sector that has just opened. Communications Minister Ariel Attias said that as the Postal Company begins to face private competition, it is being given the opportunity to expand services, and the ministry is now considering the service files presented by the company and soon will include them in its license. The Postal Company said the hybrid service will enable all residents to receive official information from state institutions and carry out payments and other services. Company director-general Avi Hochman said that in the years to come, it will be able to offer a variety of new services in its postal branches. Hybrid e-mail, he said, is "only the beginning."