JERUSALEM – Government Web sites typically are filled with dry, political content that are of limited interest to Web surfers and are irrelevant to site reviewers.
The Web site of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, however, goes far beyond the boundaries of being a simple portal for the Israeli government, so far that it should be considered an important English reference website for anyone who has an interest in Israeli business and cultural affairs.
The main page greets visitors with an up-to-date survey of news articles from such sources as the Jerusalem Post and Ha’aretz newspapers, as well as internal government statements and transcripts. The non-commercial nature of the website is a major asset for the news page, as the administrators are not constrained by the same content agreements and business considerations that commercial sites would be.
From the home page, there are a limited number of links to other sections of the site, but that does not adequately reflect the vast range of on-site content and outside links available. With over 16,000 web pages and 3,500 outside links, the Foreign Affairs website is truly sprawling.
The information on the site covers just about every facet of Israeli society, all in English. Page for page, link for link, there is probably no other website that comes close to the depth of Israel-related information found on the Foreign Ministry site.
The expansive information comes at the expense of accessibility, however. The best links are buried in web pages that are sometimes difficult to locate. The site’s internal search engine is useful but not a replacement for an efficient site design.
With a bit of patience and a little trial and error, there is information to be found on the Foreign Ministry site that exists nowhere else on the web. Naturally, much of the political educational material on the site should be considered to be biased. However, this information only amounts to a small fraction of the site’s content.
For people interested in learning more about Israel-related subjects for matters of business, culture or educational curiosity, the Foreign Ministry site should not be overlooked.