David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 15 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. He has published his articles on such online media as Hackernoon, Tripwire, Infosecinstitute, and Cybrary.
Israel has one of the highest internet penetration rates in the world. Israelis spend close to 60 hours per month surfing the web, the highest number for any country worldwide. However, the Israeli government, particularly the military, has long had a dominant role to play in regulating telecommunications in the country. Israelis only got independent internet access in 2009. The Israeli government has long since controlled the publication of material, whether in print or online, citing fears of national security breaches.
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Israel has a strong military censor “authorized to ban the publication, printing, importing, and exporting of any material that will or is likely to cause damage to the security of Israel or public order,” according to the OpenNet Initiative. The Israeli government is known to block publication of certain news items known to reflect badly on the national security agenda. Therefore, it’s possible that Israeli web users lack access to certain blogs and news sites that may publish material critical of the government’s point of view.
The OpenNet Initiative, following an investigation, concluded that there is no web filtering in Israel. However, internet censorship continues to be a hot topic as usage expands. Some legislation has been proposed to limit citizen access to violent or sexually explicit material online. Many predict that Israel’s internet censorship laws will change as the country’s social media usage increases.
Web users in Israel may also face other obstacles, such as geographically specific blocks initiated by foreign ISPs. Israelis can surpass such restrictions by subscribing to a Virtual Private Network (VPN). There are free VPN web proxies that offer limited access to connections originating from Israel. However, a full service VPN can guarantee unrestricted and unlimited access to the web.