The public is welcome to participate in decisions about theישראל” .“ ccTLD’s operational model
Starting Sunday, April 18, 2021, Israel Internet Association (ISOC-IL) invites Israeli internet users, industry stakeholders, and government officials to join a public participation process in preparation for the upcoming launch of a Hebrew ccTLD: “.ישראל” The new TLD is an addition to Israel’s existing .il suffix.
ISOC-IL is interested in the public and professional community’s positions regarding the structure and domain names allocation under the new TLD, namely, how would URLs written from right to left and ending with the”.ישראל” suffix will look like?
Following ISOC-IL’s extensive work with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), “.ישראל” is now Israel’s official ccTLD, operated and managed by ISOC-IL, in addition to the .il TLD, operated by ISOC-IL since 1990s.
Authorizing ISOC-IL as the managing body of the new TLD was backed by leading members of the Israeli internet community: internet service providers, domain registrars, web hosting services, academic researchers, and digitally-oriented civil society groups.
The decision has a symbolic significance, recognizing Hebrew as the official state language in the global TLD system, the internet’s core. Now, on its 73rd anniversary, Israel joins other countries whose national language is written in non-Latin letters, supporting domain name registration in their local language. This option will allow all populations (also thos who are less comfortable with English), greater digital access while boosting domestic businesses’ relationships with their local clientele. This symbolism has an operational aspect: for the first time, businesses, organizations, and state bodies could offer their online services under a new ccTLD, where URLs are written in Hebrew, from right to left. This alternative complements the existing digital presence of the .il TLD.
Before launching the new TLD and allowing users to browse using the “.ישראל” suffix, there are several critical issues related to its operational model and assigning policy that must be addressed. ISOC-IL’s public participation process is designed to allow users and stakeholders to submit their recommendations on the various issues.
A fundamental question is how a full-Hebrew URL would look like? The first decision relates to the TLD’s structure: will it be a direct space that includes two levels – domain name – “.ישראל”+ for example, “ דוגמה.ישראל or will it feature a three-level sectoral division, i.e., domain name + a word denoting sectoral affiliation – “.ישראל” +for example, “דוגמה.עסק.ישראל”, corresponding to example.co.il)?
Opting for a direct two-level TLD requires deciding on domain names reserved for official state bodies, such as “כנסת.ישראל” or ” בנק.ישראל”. These domains will be reserved and blocked from registration.
Opting for a sector three-level TLD requires another decision: assigning identifying suffixes to each sector, the Hebrew equivalents of the current .il sectoral suffixes (co.il, org.il, muni.il, gov.il, ac.il, net.il, idf.il, k-12.il). Will an academic institution receive”אקדמיה.ישראל” ?
Another relevant question focuses on one of ISOC-IL’s past decisions, allowing Hebrew domain names with an English .il.
The bilingual option, requiring writing from right to left and then from left to right, might create confusion and drive fraudulent attempts and referrals to malicious sites. However, some organizations may be interested in registering bilingual domains.
There are several solutions to the issue: one model is dubbed Fully Integrated, allowing Hebrew and Latin characters at all levels.
Another model is Partially Integrated, where bilingual domain names will be allowed only in the .il TLD, with only Hebrew letters ,and the third model is a unified model.
Yoram HaCohen, CEO, Israel Internet Association: “authorizing the Association to manage Israel’s new ccTLD reflects the national and international trust in ISOC-IL, which has been operating the .il TLD since the 1990s. As a representative of the Israeli internet community, ISOC-IL complies with values and principles of trans
parency and public participation and invites both the general public and professional stakeholders to take part in the consultation process. That is a rare opportunity to influence a historic move at the national level. We will carefully examine the positions that will be submitted and develop a policy that best serves internet users in Israel.”