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Israel

National Legislation Database (IL0027)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Israel Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: The Knesset

Support Institution(s): Ministry of Justice, Civil society organizations

Policy Areas

E-Government, Fiscal Openness, Publication of Budget/Fiscal Information

IRM Review

IRM Report: Israel Implementation Report 2017-2019, Israel Design Report 2017-2019

Starred: No

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?
The National Legislation Database went live on the Knesset website for the first time in 2014 and it contains information about all of the laws of the State of Israel and laws as legislated, as well as the parliamentary processes for each of them. Since 2016, draft bills under consideration by the current Knesset are also presented, as well as information about draft bills and their accompanying parliamentary processes from the first Knesset until the current Knesset. The National Legislation Database is still not complete and the following data needs to be added –
a. Full explanation of the legislative process of a draft bill – at the moment, the database presents the information and data about government draft bills only from the stage at which the draft bill begins the legislative process in the Knesset. But a government draft bill begins its “life” well before this, when a memorandum of law is disseminated on the Government Law Memoranda Website – http://www.tazkirim.gov.il. At the moment, there are two separate and disconnected processes, even though at issue is a single draft bill, that initiates an internal process in the government and is presented to the public for comments, and only subsequently, it proceeds through a legislative proceeding in the Knesset. b. Presentation of secondary legislation that is enacted by virtue of laws of the State of Israel – the laws of the State of Israel authorize various officers in the executive authority to institute secondary legislation by virtue thereof. To date, there is no government database that contains all secondary legislation enacted by virtue of each of the laws of the State of Israel.
c. Development of tools that will allow the Knesset to fulfill the government’s supervisory role and monitor the government’s performance in enacting secondary legislation that is required pursuant to the provisions of law.
d. Presentation of budget laws – the budget laws are still not optimally presented in a database.
e. Presentation of the full version of the laws of the State of Israel – to date, the State of Israel has not taken action to present the amended and updated version of the laws of the State, which incorporates all amendments to them that have been legislated over the years. What is the
a. Building an interface that will enable the linking of a government draft bill submitted to the Knesset to the first version disseminated as a memorandum of law, and presentation of the information in the National Legislation Database with a page for each law.
b. Building an interface for receiving information about secondary legislation being enacted by virtue of laws of the State of Israel and presenting it in the National Legislation Database, and building a system that enables monitoring of the government’s performance in enacting secondary legislation required by law.
c. Completing the information needed about budget laws for the purpose of including it in the database.
d. Establishing a system to manage the full and updated version of the laws of the State of Israel – the Knesset took it upon itself to prepare and present the full version of the laws of the State of Israel. To this end, comprehensive, in-depth work was performed to collect information, documents and data and to characterize a designated system that will prepare the full version, in order to start developing it. How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?
The new interfaces and mode of presentation of the information in the National Legislation Database will enable all existing information to be made publicly accessible in a comprehensive way, and will help develop the National Legislation Database as a meaningful public resource. Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?
Transparency: Development of the National Legislation Database helps the public exercise its right to information, in that it makes comprehensive, reliable, high-quality information publicly accessible, which, until now, had not been readily available or had been accessible only to commercial companies. Milestone Activity with a verifiable deliverable: Linking government draft bills that are contained in the National Legislation Database to the memoranda of law that are disseminated by the government, and presenting the information in individual law pages in the National Legislation Database.
1.1.2017
31.12.2019
Presentation of secondary legislation being enacted by virtue of laws of the State of Israel in the National Legislation Database.
1.1.2018
31.12.2019
Presentation of budget laws –locating and supplementing the information and presenting it in the National Legislation Database.
1.1.2018
31.12.2018
Presenting the full and updated version of the laws of the State of Israel, completing the establishment of the system and starting to prepare the full version of the State’s laws and presenting them in the National Legislation Database.
1.1.2017
31.12.2019

IRM Midterm Status Summary

5. Continuing the development of the National Legislation Database – increasing the transparency of information about primary and secondary legislation

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan: [15]

“a. Building an interface that will enable the linking of a government draft bill submitted to the Knesset to the first version disseminated as a memorandum of law, and presentation of the information in the National Legislation Database with a page for each law.

  1. Building an interface for receiving information about secondary legislation being enacted by virtue of laws of the State of Israel and presenting it in the National Legislation Database, and building a system that enables monitoring of the government’s performance in enacting secondary legislation required by law.
  2. Completing the information needed about budget laws for the purpose of including it in the database.
  3. Establishing a system to manage the full and updated version of the laws of the State of Israel – the Knesset took it upon itself to prepare and present the full version of the laws of the State of Israel. To this end, comprehensive, in-depth work was performed to collect information, documents, and data and to characterize a designated system that will prepare the full version, in order to start developing it.”

Milestones

5.1 Linking government draft bills that are contained in the National Legislation Database to the memoranda of law that are disseminated by the government, and presenting the information in individual law pages in the National Legislation Database.

5.2 Presentation of secondary legislation being enacted by virtue of laws of the State of Israel in the National Legislation Database.

5.3 Presentation of budget laws – locating and supplementing the information and presenting it in the National Legislation Database.

5.4 Presenting the full and updated version of the laws of the State of Israel, completing the establishment of the system and starting to prepare the full version of the State’s laws and presenting them in the National Legislation Database.

Start Date: January 2017

End Date:  December 2019

Context and Objectives

This commitment builds on Commitment 7 from Israel’s second action plan (2015–2017) but also offers a significant expansion of that commitment. In the past, primary state legislation was available only in print form in public libraries and online via commercial services. Commitment 7 from the previous action plan [16] largely improved this situation regarding the legislation website in that any citizen with internet access can search and find any piece of Israeli primary legislation on the Knesset website. However, understanding the laws of the country often requires access to the relevant secondary legislation – regulations issued by the executive branch. Like the availability of primary legislation a few years ago, secondary legislation is only available through paid online services (mostly used by lawyers and academics). Some is available on different government agencies’ websites but is not regularly updated and is far from comprehensive.

Secondary legislation is often more important than primary legislation, as it defines the criteria and procedures for implementing the primary legislation. For instance, whereas primary legislation provides for government support of CSOs, the criteria a CSO applying for support must meet are detailed in secondary legislation. Other examples can be taken from the fields of health and education. The rights of a patient in the national health system, such as the treatments that should be made available to him or her and the means to appeal a refusal to provide certain medicine are enshrined in secondary legislation. In the school system, numerous regulations and other secondary legislation affect students’ and parents’ rights, for instance the total sum that schools are allowed to collect from parents for extracurricular activities.

This commitment aims to make that information, immense in its scope, available to the public through the “Legislation Depository” on the Knesset website. [17] It also offers to make available draft bills in the National Legislation Database. These draft bills include explanatory comments that can help citizens understand the justifications for various laws enacted. The commitment also specifically targets budget laws (milestone 5.3). While these laws are currently available, the amendments they undergo during the fiscal year are not available.

The commitment is verifiable by surfing the Knesset’s National Legislation Database to examine the volume of secondary legislation presented there. If fully implemented, it may transform public access to previously unavailable (or not widely available) pieces of legislation. Access to secondary legislation could significantly help citizens understand the laws of the country, act accordingly, and notice breaches of the law when they occur. It should be mentioned specifically in regard to information about the budget law that this will be a major step forward in the manner in which this information is provided. For years, civil society has demanded that such information be published. As early as 2011, when Israel decided it would join OGP, then-minister Eitan worked together with the Israeli CSO Public Knowledge Workshop to present this information online, but following his retirement, there was no progress until now.

Next steps

The IRM researchers suggest building on these transparency efforts by adding to the legislation website tools that will allow the public to engage in the legislative process by offering their feedback on the proposed bills and interacting with Knesset members regarding their voting for or against the bills.

[15] Government OCT Authority, Open Government Action Plan for 2018–2019, pgs. 23-26 https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Israel_Action-Plan_2017-2019_EN.pdf
[16] Titled “Increasing transparency of information regarding legislation. Israel’s second OGP action plan, p. 19, available at: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Israel_Action-Plan_2015-2017_EN.pdf.
[17] For instance, in the year 2018 alone, the official state registrar issued 222 booklets with secondary legislation, typically consisting of 5 to 15 pieces of secondary legislation each. The total number of secondary legislation pieces published in the first month of 2018 was 134 (according to a query in the “Nevo” commercial legal database).

IRM End of Term Status Summary

5. Continuing the development of the National Legislation Database – increasing the transparency of information about primary and secondary legislation

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan: [24]

“a. Building an interface that will enable the linking of a government draft bill submitted to the Knesset to the first version disseminated as a memorandum of law, and presentation of the information in the National Legislation Database with a page for each law.

  1. Building an interface for receiving information about secondary legislation being enacted by virtue of laws of the State of Israel and presenting it in the National Legislation Database, and building a system that enables monitoring of the government’s performance in enacting secondary legislation required by law.
  2. Completing the information needed about budget laws for the purpose of including it in the database.
  3. Establishing a system to manage the full and updated version of the laws of the State of Israel – the Knesset took it upon itself to prepare and present the full version of the laws of the State of Israel. To this end, comprehensive, in-depth work was performed to collect information, documents, and data and to characterize a designated system that will prepare the full version, in order to start developing it.”

Milestones

5.1 Linking government draft bills that are contained in the National Legislation Database to the memoranda of law that are disseminated by the government, and presenting the information in individual law pages in the National Legislation Database.

5.2 Presentation of secondary legislation being enacted by virtue of laws of the State of Israel in the National Legislation Database.

5.3 Presentation of budget laws – locating and supplementing the information and presenting it in the National Legislation Database.

5.4 Presenting the full and updated version of the laws of the State of Israel, completing the establishment of the system and starting to prepare the full version of the State’s laws and presenting them in the National Legislation Database.

Start Date: January 2017

End Date: December 2019

This commitment sought to significantly enhance the volume of information available for citizens in the National Legislation Database. [25] For decades, the full text of Israeli state statutes was only available through paid services. A commitment in Israel’s first action plan successfully created a free and open legislation database within the Knesset (Israeli parliament) website. The database, however, consisted only of primary legislation and not secondary legislation. The main goal of this current commitment was to add that immense and important body of law to the database, as well as draft bills, budget laws, and full updated versions of statutes as amended.

While this commitment was assessed in the IRM Design Report as potentially transformative, its implementation was limited. The first two milestones, namely the inclusion of draft government bills and secondary legislation, were not achieved, and as reported by the Knesset website director, have been temporarily dropped. [26] The two other milestones—publication of updated online information on the budget law as amended and updated full-text version of laws as amended—were fully or nearly fully implemented by the end of the action plan. The limited implementation of this commitment, according to the website director, is a result of the complex cooperation required between two different agencies to bring upon the implementation of the first two milestones. Since the information to be published is created within the Ministry of Justice, much technological, procedural, and substantial coordination is required to allow regular flow of the information from one system to another. This seems to have prevented the completion of those two milestones on publishing draft bills and secondary legislation.

Although the draft bills and secondary legislation have not yet been added to the National Legislation database, the commitment has led to major improvements in the transparency and accessibility of information on amendments to legislation and the budget. Prior to this action plan, without the publication of laws “as amended,” the National Legislation Database was useful only to those with a strong understanding of the legal amendments processes and who had skills and time to follow often lengthy amendments processes. The addition of amended legislation makes the database significantly more useful to laypersons who seek to better understand a certain law or legal situation. The publication of budget amendments is also highly significant. This information is still not easily understandable to those not familiar with the field, but it is highly valuable to civil society organizations and researchers. The budget changed dramatically over the course of its year-long implementation. Public discourse in the past was mostly around the approval of the planned budget in parliament. Amendments approved in the parliament’s finance committee often did not receive public scrutiny, even if they rendered the debate around certain budget items irrelevant. This commitment has improved this situation by allowing for greater public scrutiny of the amended budget.

[24] “Open Government Action Plan for 2018–2019”, Government OCT Authority, pp. 23–26, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Israel_Action-Plan_2017-2019_EN.pdf.

[25] For a more detailed description of the commitment, see “Open Government Action Plan for 2018–2019”, Government OCT Authority, pg. 23, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Israel_Action-Plan_2017-2019_EN.pdf.

[26] Adv. Gali Ben-Or, phone interview by IRM researcher, 11 November 2019.


Commitments

  1. Civic Participation Processes in Government

    IL0023, 2017, Capacity Building

  2. Resolution Implementation Reports

    IL0024, 2017, E-Government

  3. Action Plan Performance Indicators

    IL0025, 2017, E-Government

  4. Government Call Centers

    IL0026, 2017, Marginalized Communities

  5. National Legislation Database

    IL0027, 2017, E-Government

  6. National Plan for the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    IL0028, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  7. Transparency Criteria

    IL0029, 2017, Access to Information

  8. Publication of Information Legislative Amendments

    IL0030, 2017, Access to Information

  9. Transparency, Participation, Accessibility of Information in Local Authorities and Ministry of the Interior

    IL0031, 2017, E-Government

  10. Publicly Accessible Databases

    IL0032, 2017, Access to Information

  11. Remotely Accessing Government Services

    IL0033, 2017, Access to Justice

  12. Paperless Government

    IL0034, 2017, E-Government

  13. Open-Source Code

    IL0035, 2017, Access to Information

  14. Evaluation of Open Government Plan

    IL0036, 2017,

  15. Contracting Between the Government and Private Sector

    IL0016, 2015, Access to Information

  16. Unified Website for Government Offices

    IL0017, 2015,

  17. Data.Gov

    IL0018, 2015, Access to Information

  18. Public's Satisfaction with Government Services

    IL0019, 2015, Public Participation

  19. ATI on Legislation

    IL0020, 2015, Open Regulations

  20. Civic Participation Tools

    IL0021, 2015, E-Government

  21. Civic Participation

    IL0022, 2015, Open Regulations

  22. Review of the Governmental Freedom of Information Unit's Authority

    IL0014, 2015, Access to Information

  23. Web for FOI

    IL0015, 2015, Access to Information

  24. Establishing a Cross-Sector Forum That Promotes Open Government Programs

    IL0001, 2012, Public Participation

  25. State Budget Information Accessibility

    IL0002, 2012, Fiscal Openness

  26. Publication of Work Plans in Government Offices

    IL0003, 2012, E-Government

  27. Establishing a System of Measurement and Review and Publicizing a Government Service Report to the Public

    IL0004, 2012, Capacity Building

  28. Cooperation Between the Government and the Public in Developing Online Applications

    IL0005, 2012, Private Sector

  29. Public Participation in Policymaking Processes

    IL0006, 2012, Open Regulations

  30. Establishing a Freedom of Information Unit in the Ministry of Justice

    IL0007, 2012, Access to Information

  31. Developing Technology Infrastructure for Providing Government Services

    IL0008, 2012, E-Government

  32. Inter-Office Committee for Improving Business Processes

    IL0009, 2012, E-Government

  33. Creating a Government Contact Center (NAMAL - Meeting Point for Citizens)

    IL0010, 2012, E-Government

  34. Online Catalog of Government Services

    IL0011, 2012, E-Government

  35. Establishing a Unit for Government Service to the Public

    IL0012, 2012, Public Service Delivery

  36. Establishing a National Information Technology (IT) Unit Headed by a Government CIO

    IL0013, 2012, E-Government

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