With New Law, Faxes Out, Email In

fax machine
A fax machine. (Illustrative)

With email having almost completely replaced faxes in the private sector, the electronic message revolution is finally set to come to public institutions. A law proposed by MKs Ro’ee Falkman, Rachel Azaria, and Meirav Ben-Ari (all of the Kulanu party) that would require local authorities, state offices, hospitals, and other institutions to accept documents via electronic means, has been approved for a second and third Knesset reading. The vote will take place in the coming weeks, and is expected to pass easily.

Currently, many institutions require that documents either be hand delivered, or faxed. Whereas faxing documents was once the norm, the emergence of email – and the ability to scan documents and save them as electronic copies that can be sent via email – has made the fax as obsolete as the dial telephone. Lacking fax machines at home, many people have been forced to go to copy shops, pharmacies, and other retail establishments that have fax machines, where they pay by the page to have their documents faxed.

The bill will include a provision that gives municipalities and institutions a year to set up an electronic document receipt system, if they do not have one already. The law will require that institutions include an email address on their official documents and stationery, so the year deadline will also allow organizations to use up their current stock of such papers, the MKs said.

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