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IV. Governance issues

Open government

The Israeli Supreme Court ruled in Shalit v. Peres that there was a fundamental right for citizens to obtain information from government.1 The Freedom of Information Law was approved unanimously by the Knesset in May 1998. The law allows any citizen or resident to access records held by government offices, local councils and government-owned corporations.2 Requests for information must be processed within 30 days. Courts can review government decisions refusing to disclose information.

In Israel, the Freedom of Information Law3 applies to some government institutions such as government ministries, the President's Office, the Knesset, the state comptroller and the public organizations that Office oversees, the courts, the local authorities, statutory corporations, government corporations and companies under the control of the local authorities. However, several public bodies are not currently required by law to be open and transparent regarding access to information.

International obligations

Israel is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,4 which provides at Article 17 that: 1) No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation, and 2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.