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ISOC-IL: Bridging Israel’s Digital Divide

The digital divide is one of the most pressing challenges of the modern digital era. At ISOC-IL, we view the closing of the digital divide, in particular the broadening of information accessibility, as a powerful stimulus for the socioeconomic advancement of individuals and communities across the spectrum of Israel’s diverse society. One of our prime concerns is promoting fairness and equal access to internet resources. We promote digital literacy and advocate for essential public information to be made equally accessible to segments of the population at a digital disadvantage, including Arab society, Ultra-Orthodox society, senior citizens and people with disabilities.

The term “digital divide” is a broad one, and refers to societal disparities in: availability and quality of access to digital media and the internet; awareness of the possibilities, opportunities and risks inherent in the internet; and skills that enable the best use of the internet. A digital divide typically stems from and further deepens pre-existing socioeconomic disparities, such as poor infrastructural investment by state, local and business entities; absence of economic resources; lack of education; inadequate digital skills; limited job opportunities; and conservative social attitudes. Our research department works to map and identify the particular causes and symptoms of the digital divides that exist in Israel.

ISOC-IL’s main focus in the context of the digital divide is the promotion of digital literacy, a type of media literacy, which focuses on the ability to understand and navigate the computing and internet environment. It encompasses a range of skills – technical, cognitive, and sociological – that are crucial for performing tasks and solving problems in digital environments. There are various expressions of digital literacy, including knowledge of the basic principles of computers, ability to safely browse the internet, ability to perform tasks such as online bill payments and shopping, participation in online communities and social networks while adhering to behavioral norms, critical thinking skills, and capability to find, capture, assess, and understand information presented through digital technology. Digital literacy is considered a survival skill in the information age, enabling and opening “digital doors” to the ever-evolving world of information and knowledge.

ISOC-IL conducts programs and produces educational materials promoting digital literacy, broadening the public’s understanding of the educational and economic opportunities available on the internet while fostering digital trust, online safety and presenting day-to-day solutions to digital threats.