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Open-Source Code (IL0035)



Action Plan: Israel Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive


Lead Institution: E-Government, the Government ICT Authority

Support Institution(s): E-Government, the Accountant-General of the Ministry of Finance

Policy Areas

Access to Information, E-Government, Open Data

IRM Review

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

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i



Commitment description What is the public problem that the commitment will address? Government ministries make use of open-source code for the purposes of developing information systems and applications. As part of the license to use open-source code, the ministries are obligated to make the code they used and the changes that they made in it publicly accessible, while balancing between making the code publicly accessible and maintaining standards of information security. What is the commitment? The Government ICT Authority will promote and take action to implement a policy for making open-source code used by government ministries publicly accessible, in order to return it to the community of developers and to enable its use and further development. The policy will also promote the release of code that was developed in the government ministries and that fulfills criteria for publication, even when open-source code was used that does not require this. How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem? The following actions will be taken within the scope of the commitment: 1. Approval of the policy by relevant entities in the government and publishing it. 2. Assimilating the policy through government IT departments. 3. Encouraging and promoting the policy of using open-source code by government ministries. 4. Promoting making government code publicly accessible that is not obligated under an opencode license. 50 The formulation of an orderly policy that is acceptable to all relevant parties in the government, and backed by a binding directive of the Government ICT Authority, will encourage IT departments to make use of opensource code and to publish code that they develop, while maintaining the required information-security measures. Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values? Publishing government open-source code promotes the values of transparency and accountability, since it improves public access to code and to information, while balancing between compliance with the obligatory terms of the license and maintaining advisable standards of information security. Additional information Milestone Activity with a verifiable deliverable Start Date: End Date: Publishing the Government ICT Authority’s directive for the adoption, use and return of open-source code 03.2018 Publishing a policy document for government open-source code 03.2018

IRM Midterm Status Summary

13. Open-source code

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan: [36]

“The Government ICT Authority will promote and take action to implement a policy for making open-source code used by government ministries publicly accessible, in order to return it to the community of developers and to enable its use and further development. The policy will also promote the release of code that was developed in the government ministries and that fulfills criteria for publication, even when open-source code was used that does not require this.”


13.1 Publishing the Government ICT Authority’s directive for the adoption, use and return of open-source code

13.2 Publishing a policy document for government open-source code

Start Date: March 2018

End date: March 2018

Context and Objectives

The government of Israel is one of the major users and creators of software and applications in the country and has a major influence on the computer services landscape in the country. [37] When the government uses and creates closed-source code, it prevents the large community of programmers and code writers in Israel from accessing its own code and generating new innovative and creative applications that build on government code. [38] This commitment, therefore, aims to make the open-source code used by government ministries publicly accessible, which could significantly increase the use of software in general and information software in particular. Israel’s open-source community is known to develop effective public services and has the ability to extract new potential from existing code and information it processes. The milestones are easily verifiable by obtaining the documents they are meant to produce. [39]

While the potential of the policy approach in this commitment is significant, the scope of this commitment is still limited. It calls for creating internal guidelines for public agencies regarding the code they develop and how to make it accessible to other programmers, along with the code they use that other sources have written. The commitment does not in itself assure the implementation of these guidelines by public authorities, but it is a major and promising step in that direction considering that instructions by the ICT to other government agencies are binding. If fully implemented, the regular use of open code source could very well be transformative. The current copyrighted software the government uses makes it difficult for non-government users, so once the software used by government is open source, programmers will have new opportunities to make use of it and add their own ideas to it. The impact of the commitment, however, will only be assessable over the long term, when companies and developers begin to pick up code created or used by the government and make new and better use of it.

Next steps

The IRM researchers recommend carrying this commitment forward to future action plans as there is still room for improvement regarding government open source code. Some activities already carried out by the ICT could fit into future action plans. These include hackathons to bring together developers to find innovative ways to use government code and continued implementation of the ICT directives in other government agencies that use and produce code along with holding contests for the creation of new code and apps using government code.

The IRM researchers also recommend engaging with more communities of developers (in addition to the Public Knowledge Workshop, who are highly active in this field) to learn what would help them better utilize government code and how to make this technical discussion positively influence the public at large.

[36] Government OCT Authority, Open Government Action Plan for 2018 – 2019, pgs. 49-51
[37] A 2014 report by the Knesset Information Office cites Treasury officials as estimating the government annual computation expenses excluding the security agencies at 2 billion NIS (approx.. 500 Million USD). The Knesset Research and Information Center, Use of Open Source Systems in Government Ministries (Roy Goldschmidt, researcher), October 2014. Available at: [in Hebrew]

IRM End of Term Status Summary

13. Open-Source Code

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan: [58]

“Within the scope of Government Resolution 1008, the decision was made to provide an online communications channel for the public’s use, for the purpose of communicating with government ministries. As part of this course of action, the commitment will include the establishment of a digital communications channel through a personal e-mail address – at the citizen’s decision and according to his choice, which will serve as an official e-mail address for all government ministries and, in the future, it will be possible to expand this arrangement also to additional public bodies, subject to any law. In order to implement this policy, the government will establish a central database of e-mail addresses, which the ministries will use to make contact with citizens who will opt to communicate with the government via this channel, and will also enable government ministries to send communications to these addresses for the purposes of reminders and initiating contact, subject to the citizen’s consent. Concurrently, a communications channel will be developed for sending text messages or voice messages to citizens, while using the citizen’s mobile phone number, and also in this instance, this process will be implemented solely with the approval and consent of the citizen.”


12.1 Collecting half a million addresses (subject to the receipt of legal approval of this course of action)

12.2 Linking of at least two ministries

12.3 Sending acquisitions

12.4 Pilot dispatch to e-mail addresses

12.5 Analyzing the results and decision-making about continuation of the process

Start Date: January 2018

End date: September 2018

Government agencies in Israel create many codes as part of their regular operations to serve and communicate with the public and with each other, to manage their internal affairs. Also, the government is one of the largest purchasers of software in Israel. [59] When the government uses copyrighted software or creates its codes using copyrighted platforms, it limits the public’s ability to re-use the information created by the government and handled by these codes or the codes themselves, which should be seen as public property. This commitment planned to enable the public to access the work of government-hired coders and software purchased by the government. [60] It also aimed to allow the public to build upon government codes, to further develop new and innovative applications by individuals.

The two milestones of this commitment, which are requirements for the larger goals, were implemented. A policy document encouraging government agencies to use open-source software was published, with guidance on how to prepare the systems for this change, mostly focusing on copyrights and security issues. [61] An additional directive instructs agencies on how to share their open-code developed software and databases with the public. It also set up a committee authorized to approve the release of specific codes and procedures for its work. [62]

The approach of the commitment is important and promising, including promoting and assimilating open-code policy. However, the planned milestones provided only for a policy document and directive regarding the use of open-source codes in government. The commitment did not cover the actual implementation of these policies. The Information and Communication Authority (ICT) itself released the site, expanded as part of this action plan. Other agencies, such as the mapping center, have engaged with the open-source community, and some of its systems have been opened up, such as the tourism ministry that allowed developers on certain platforms to connect directly to some of its databases. [63] To this date, this is the only source documented as an explicit implementation of the policy created through this commitment. Thus, while this commitment was a positive step forward, it has only marginally improved public access to open-source code used by government ministries.

[58] “Open Government Action Plan for 2018–2019”, Government OCT Authority,

[59] “Open Government Action Plan for 2018–2019”, Government OCT Authority, pg. 40,

[60] Ibid, pg. 38.

[61] “Open Source Solution Use Policy”, Government OCT Authority, available [in Hebrew] at

[62] “Policy regarding the use of Government Owned Code”, Government OCT Authority, 1 April 2018, available [in Hebrew] at

[63] Accessible via github: “Github – Contributed by Minstry of Tourism”,


  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, E-Government

  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, Public Participation

  20. Civic Participation Tools

    IL0021, 2015, E-Government

  21. Civic Participation

    IL0022, 2015, Public Participation

  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, Public Participation

  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,

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

    IL0013, 2012, E-Government

Open Government Partnership