Report on the Delegation of the ישראל. (“Israel”) country-code top-level domain representing Israel in Hebrew script to the Israel Internet Association
14 January 2021
This report is a summary of the materials reviewed as part of the process for the delegation of the ישראל. (“Israel”) top-level domain. It includes details regarding the proposed delegation, evaluation of the documentation pertinent to the request, and actions undertaken in connection with processing the delegation.
The “IL” ISO 3166-1 two-letter country code from which the application’s eligibility derives is designated for use to represent Israel.
The domain under consideration for delegation at the DNS root level is “ישראל”. This is represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the IDNA specification as “xn--4dbrk0ce”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are U+05D9 U+05E9 U+05E8 U+05D0 U+05DC.
In the Hebrew language, the string’s translation is “Israel” in English. The string is expressed using the Hebrew script.
Chronology of events
The Israel Internet Association (association number 58-029-954-3, hereinafter “ISOC-IL”) was informally established in 1994 as a sub-activity of the Israeli Association for Data Processing and chartered as the Israeli chapter of the Internet Society in January 1995.
In 1996, ISOC-IL began operating the Israeli Internet eXchange (IIX), an intra-Israeli internet exchange that connects a majority of the Israeli ISPs for sole intra-Israel internet communications.
In February 1997, management of the .IL top-level domain was transferred to ISOC-IL from the Israel Inter-University Computation Center. ISOC-IL continues to manage the .IL top-level domain to this day.
On 24 March 1997, ISOC-IL formally registered as an Association with Israel’s Ministry of the Interior whose main purpose is to “encourage connectivity and connection to the Internet of many sectors of the Israeli population through public relations, advertising, seminars, and lectures, and to promote and encourage efficient Internet services at reasonable prices by service providers.”
In December 2000, the Israeli Minister of Communication issued the Internet Services Licensing Policy expressing the formal position of the Government of Israel regarding the management of the Israeli ccTLD as being within the sole jurisdiction of the Israeli Internet Community.
In 2013, ISOC-IL created an Infrastructure Committee to provide public oversight of the operations of ISOC-IL, including input on the ccTLD registration policies. The committee is composed of two ISOC-IL board members, three public committee members, the CEO of ISOC-IL, and two observers.
On 16 January 2020, ISOC-IL submitted a request to ICANN’s IDN Fast Track program for the string “ישראל” to represent Israel using the Hebrew script. The IDN Fast Track DNS Stability Panel found that the applied-for string “presents none of the threats to the stability or security of the DNS identified in Module 4 of the Fast Track Implementation Plan, and presents an acceptably low risk of user confusion." On 19 May 2020, ICANN announced the successful String Evaluation of the Israel IDN country code top-level domain.
On 17 June 2020, ISOC-IL initiated a request for delegation of the ישראל. top-level domain.
On 13 October 2020, the Israeli Minister of Communication published an Internet Services Licensing Policy that restates the principles in the 2000 Policy Paper, expressing the government’s formal position that the ccTLD should be self-regulated by the Internet Community. The policy states that "the Ministry expects Internet service provision licensees and the Israeli Internet community to formulate themselves, in an appropriate forum and with public participation, self-regulatory activities for the Internet service industry, without its involvement, subject to the approval of the Antitrust Commissioner, if necessary." It also specifies that "the self-regulatory activities for the Internet industry, insofar as these do not fall under the scope of the Telecommunications Law, may include: (a) Managing the address space with the .il country code, allocating addresses, allocating IP addresses and publishing addresses for users in Israel and around the world."
Proposed Manager and Contacts
The proposed manager is the Israel Internet Association, registered as association number 58-029-954-3, a non-profit society based in Israel. It reports to have around 200 members from various stakeholders in the Israeli Internet community and is managed by seven voluntary board members.
The proposed administrative contact is Yoram Hacohen, Chief Executive Officer at ISOC-IL. The administrative contact is understood to be based in Israel.
The proposed technical contact is Meir Kraushar, DNS Manager at ISOC-IL.
Evaluation of the Request
The top-level domain is eligible for delegation, as the string has been deemed an appropriate representation of Israel through the ICANN Fast Track String Selection process, and Israel is presently listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard.
Support was provided by the following:
- Lirone Chimoni of LB Annatel Ltd., a local ISP in Israel
- Nir Yogev, Director of Regulatory and Government Relations at Cellcom Ltd., an Israeli ISP
- Moshe Fogel, Chief Executive Officer of Communigal Communications Ltd. (Galcomm.com), an ICANN accredited registrar and registrar of .IL domains
- Dr. Sagit Zilberberg, Chief Executive Officer of ESHNAV - People for Smart use of the Internet, a non-profit non-governmental organization
- Revital Poleg, Executive Director at Wikimedia Israel
- Gadi Blander, Chief Executive Officer at Internic Israel/Interspace Ltd. an ICANN accredited registrar
- Netanel Abargel, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of uPress Inc., a hosting and domain registration company
- Ramy Nahum, Chief Executive Officer at Triple C Cloud Computing Ltd.
- Dr Nicholas John, Department of Communications at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Dr. Anat Ben-David, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Political Science, and Communication at the Open University of Israel
- Professor Orr Dunkelman, Department of Computer Science at the University of Haifa
- Dorit Lerer, Deputy Director General at the Academy of the Hebrew Language
- Dana Yaffe, Clinical Director of the Legal Clinic on Digital Rights in Cyberspace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Domain the Net Technologies Ltd., a domain name registrar in Israel, provided a statement opposing this request and has expressed its own interest in managing the ישראל. top-level domain.
The Government of Israel has been notified about the application but has not provided a statement of support for ISOC-IL or any other party. The Ministry of Justice has asserted that the domain is not under the authority of any specific government ministry. PTI is in receipt of additional letters from specific ministries and government agencies in Israel that disclaim their interest in nominating the party that should manage the domain. The October 2020 Internet Services Licensing Policy supports the notion that it is the position of the Government of Israel to not be involved in these matters.
The application is consistent with known applicable laws and regulations in Israel.
The proposed manager undertakes responsibilities to operate the domain in a fair and equitable manner.
Based in Country
The proposed manager is constituted in Israel. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in Israel. The registry is to be operated in Israel.
The application does not involve a transfer of domain operations from an existing domain registry, and therefore stability aspects relating to registry transfer are not relevant.
The application has provided information on the technical and operational infrastructure and expertise that will be used to operate the proposed new domain.
Proposed policies for management of the domain have also been tendered.
PTI is tasked with coordinating the Domain Name System root zone as part of a set of functions governed by a contract with ICANN. This includes accepting and evaluating requests for delegation and transfer of top-level domains.
A subset of top-level domains are designated for the local Internet communities in countries to operate in a way that best suits their local needs. These are known as country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs), and are assigned to responsible managers that meet a number of public-interest criteria for eligibility. These criteria largely relate to the level of support the manager has from its local Internet community, its capacity to ensure stable operation of the domain, and its applicability under any relevant local laws.
Through the IANA Services performed by PTI, requests are received for delegating new ccTLDs, and transferring or revoking existing ccTLDs. An investigation is performed on the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and the requests are implemented where they are found to meet the criteria.
Purpose of evaluations
The evaluation of eligibility for ccTLDs, and of evaluating responsible managers charged with operating them, is guided by a number of principles. The objective of the assessment is that the action enhances the secure and stable operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.
In considering requests to delegate or transfer ccTLDs, input is sought regarding the proposed new manager, as well as from persons and organizations that may be significantly affected by the change, particularly those within the nation or territory to which the ccTLD is designated.
The assessment is focused on the capacity for the proposed manager to meet the following criteria:
The domain should be operated within the country, including having its manager and administrative contact based in the country.
The domain should be operated in a way that is fair and equitable to all groups in the local Internet community.
Significantly interested parties in the domain should agree that the prospective manager is the appropriate party to be responsible for the domain, with the desires of the national government taken very seriously.
The domain must be operated competently, both technically and operationally. Management of the domain should adhere to relevant technical standards and community best practices.
Risks to the stability of the Internet addressing system must be adequately considered and addressed, particularly with regard to how existing identifiers will continue to function.
Method of evaluation
To assess these criteria, information is requested from the applicant regarding the proposed manager and method of operation. In summary, a request template is sought specifying the exact details of the delegation being sought in the root zone. In addition, various documentation is sought describing: the views of the local internet community on the application; the competencies and skills of the manager to operate the domain; the legal authenticity, status and character of the proposed manager; and the nature of government support for the proposal.
After receiving this documentation and input, it is analyzed in relation to existing root zone management procedures, seeking input from parties both related to as well as independent of the proposed manager should the information provided in the original application be deficient. The applicant is given the opportunity to cure any deficiencies before a final assessment is made.
Once all the documentation has been received, various technical checks are performed on the proposed manager’s DNS infrastructure to ensure name servers are properly configured and are able to respond to queries correctly. Should any anomalies be detected, PTI will work with the applicant to address the issues.
Assuming all issues are resolved, an assessment is compiled providing all relevant details regarding the proposed manager and its suitability to operate the relevant top-level domain.