Wikimedia Israel/Summary



Wikimedia Israel was officially established on 26 June 2007, after about 6 months of discussions and preparations. It was registered in Israel as an amuta, which is the Israeli law equivalent to a Verein in the German law. The Hebrew Wikipedia, since its inauguration, has been a loadstone to many Israeli contributors, who were organized spontaneously and unofficially for "real life" projects, such as meetups, conferences and field trips. Wikipedia was always the center of these activities. For example, the goal of the field trips was to take pictures of sites in Israel, and publish them under free license. In Wikimania 2006, the Foundation suggested the creating of new local chapters, among them an Israeli chapter. This suggestion was received with a lot of scepticism, the main argument against it being: why get into legal issues and bureaucracy when we manage to organize projects unofficially. In December 2006, the idea was brought before the Wikipedian community during a Wikipedian conference which gathered about 100 Israeli Wikipedians. The Decision was to form an organizing committee which will discuss the issue and decide if an how an Israeli chapter should be created. The organizing committee held several meetings and eventually registered as an amuta.

One of the most significant advantages of the chapter format, is the ability to cooperate with other organizations. We have an intense and very fruitful cooperation with the Israeli Internet Association (ISOC-IL [1]).

General facts

  • WM-IL currently has 10 members. We expect 2-3 new members to join in shortly.
  • The board consists of 5 members.
  • Other departments within the chapter: auditing committee (2 members), a secretary (also serve as a pro-bono legal advisor), an ombudsman, a press contact
  • The chapter's budget currently relies on membership fee. The Israeli law does not permit tax deduction privileges for new associations, and no donations were collected during the first year of activity. Most projects were financed using budgets allocated by other cooperative associations.
  • Member fee collected reached ILS 2,000 (~ EUR 370). Overall budgets allocated to WM-IL projects by other associations reached ILS 206,000 (~ EUR 38,500).

Projects and activities

  • Stable version of the Hebrew Wikipedia for the Computer to Every Child government project [2] (currently inactive, may be resumed)
  • Wikimedia Israel free image collection project - in cooperation with ISOC-IL ([3] and the Center for Educational Technology [4] (ongoing)
  • Lobbying in the Israeli parliament:
    • Israeli new copyright law - preventing further aggravations in the new law (completed)
    • Advocating for the release of state owned material to the public domain (ongoing)
    • Advocating for the inclusion of free content issues in the agenda of the parliamentary committee for science (ongoing)
  • The Hebrew Wikipedia mobile poster exhibition (mostly completed, still receiving requests)
  • Participating in local events related to education, the Internet and the "digital culture"
    • The EVA/MINERVA Jerusalem 2007 Conference on Digitisation of Culture[5]
    • The National Science Day at the Knesset (the Israeli parliament)
    • ISOC-IL conference 2008 [6]
  • Issuing press releases about Wikimedia projects and free content projects in general, and organizing interviews with local Wikimedians (all examples are in Hebrew)
  • Informing Israeli authorities and bodies about the proper way of quoting from Wikipedia
  • Helping in organizing the Wikipedian meet-ups
  • Contacting the press about events, projects and other issues related to Wikimedia projects
  • Contacting between the Foundation and Israeli commercial companies that wish to engage in business relations with the Foundation (ongoing)
  • Creating a professional team that will help Israeli organizations in embeddig the media-wiki system (in discussions)

Best success


The Hebrew Wikipedia mobile poster exhibition is definitely the best success of Wikimedia Israel so far. The exhibition was presented so far in 9 places all over Israel, and there are several pending requests. There were several reports about the exhibition in the Israeli press. This project demonstrates an efficient process of learning from the experience of other chapters, cooperation between the local Wikimedian community and the local chapter, cooperation between WM-IL and other local associations and grabbing the public attention by using tangible material.

  • The project was modeled after a similar successful project of Wikimedia Deutschland [7]
  • The content writing, design and logistic planning were done in special community page of the Hebrew Wikipedia, involving the entire he-wp community w:he:ויקיפדיה:תערוכה.
  • Wikimedia Israel used its relations with ISOC-IL, and convinced them to finance the project
  • Wikimedia Israel took care of contacting the press and coordinating logistic issues.
  • The exhibition was placed in the campuses of the major universities and the Israeli parliament building.