Israel Top VPN, Legality, Stats, and Recommendations
You may not expect it, but Israel is a hub for technology — surveillance technology in particular. The cyber sector has become a core pillar of Israel’s economy, exporting over $6 billion worth of products and services. In fact, many prominent VPN providers call Israel their home.
And yet, for a country that prides itself on technology, their digital privacy laws lag far behind many nations in the developed world. Until recently, Israel was comfortable using privacy protection laws that were drafted in 1980.
Israel possesses a bizarre mix of outdated privacy laws, a highly-connected population, and cutting-edge technology. As you’ll quickly learn, that makes it the perfect place to use a VPN.
The State of VPN Usage in Israel
Israel is one of the most well connected nations in the world. According to IWS, approximately 79.7% of their population – nearly 7 million people – are connected to the Internet. This number is expected to increase in the coming years, as approximately 90% of Israeli teens use the Internet.
The other factor to keep in mind when you’re talking about Israel and VPN usage is that the nation itself is a tech superstar. It’s earned the nickname the “startup nation” and is a bonafide powerhouse when it comes to innovation. In fact, right now Israel is second only to the US in its concentration of cyber defenders. Numerous advanced VPNs call the country their home.
Consider this: when an Israeli is drafted into the army, the smartest recruits are moved to the intelligence unit. There, they will learn to spy, hack, develop cybersecurity, and create cyberweapons. When their military service ends, these citizens have exceptional security skills and a fantastic resume.
These talented citizens don’t stay on the market for long, and are quickly courted by numerous companies in Israel’s burgeoning private surveillance industry.
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Is it Legal to Use a VPN in Israel?
The short answer is yes, it is legal to use a VPN in Israel. However, there’s a rather major caveat – despite VPNs being legal in Israel, using one could draw negative government attention in certain circumstances.
In late 2019, the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority published a guide for the public to review. This guide listed red flags designed to help the private sector develop a policy on anti-money laundering risks and identify problematic activity.
Unfortunately, one of the red flags mentioned was the use of a VPN. While using a VPN doesn’t guarantee you’ll be flagged, it may increase the chance, and that’s something you should be aware of so that you can make an educated decision regarding your privacy. This is particularly relevant if you’re planning to use a VPN while making trades in a crypto currency.
Now, does this mean you shouldn’t use a VPN at all? Not at all. In fact, as you’ll see shortly, there are still many reasons you should.
Why Use a VPN in Israel?
Outdated Privacy Protection Laws
The current iteration of Israel’s Privacy Protection Law was created 40 years ago. First, think of all the technological advances our world has seen in the past four decades. Next, think about all of the technological advances we might see over the next four decades. Then ask yourself: how difficult would it be to create a law today that would cover any contingencies we might see between now and 2060?
Israel’s Privacy Protection Law dates back well before private companies developed algorithms to collect and process data. It couldn’t have predicted Facebook, Amazon, or Instagram – and all of the data those platforms have access to. If you’re using the Internet in Israel, you should assume that your data can be easily compromised.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. The IDI is putting together a new proposal that will bring Israeli privacy laws closer to the European Union’s much more strict legislation, which puts users in control of their rights. The proposal seeks to make it so that products and services don’t treat data security as an add-on, but rather as a foundational component. Organizations would be expected to employ data protection officers.
However, that law is not yet created, which means your data is currently not protected. If you use a VPN, you protect your data from those who would seek to gain easy access.
In Israel, as of 2017, the court has the ability to block or remove Internet sites that promote criminal or terror activity. The law is designed to target illegal gambling websites, prostitution, the online dealing of hard drugs, and terror groups. Any Internet Service Provider that doesn’t comply faces imprisonment. While the law does specify that censorship may only be used if absolutely essential, defining what’s essential is open to interpretation.
Israeli critics are worried that the law, which might sound good in theory, opens the door to further censorship.
The only way to avoid having censored content is to use a VPN. When you use a VPN, all of your Internet traffic is encrypted and redirected through a server, usually one in a different country. While your ISP will be able to tell you’re using a VPN, they won’t be able to see what content your accessing, and thus won’t be able to censor anything.
Unfortunately, the government isn’t the only organization restricting your Internet access. Many private companies prevent you from accessing certain aspects of their website based on the location of your IP address. This is known as geoblocking.
Geoblocking can be mundane or severe. For example, a small company might block IP addresses that come from countries they don’t ship to. A more prominent example are streaming media companies that restricts access to certain TV shows and movies based on your region. Netflix, for instance, provides much different content to customers accessing their service from a US IP address than they do for the rest of the world.
According to researchers, almost every country – including Israel – is subject to geoblocking. The fastest and easiest way around geoblocking is by using a VPN.
Internet Speed and VPN Accessibility
The average Internet connection speed in Israel is 11.2 Mb/s with peak speeds reaching 70 Mb/s. It’s estimated that 94% of Internet connections in Israel operate at speeds faster than 4Mbps. With many VPN providers headquartered in Israel, odds are good you’ll find a VPN service that suits your needs.
Having a high-speed internet connection is important if you’re planning to use a VPN in Israel. That’s because even a great VPN will slow your connection. Think of it this way – the fastest way to a place is in a straight line. When you use a VPN, you’re deliberately taking a crooked path in an effort to protect your privacy. Expect a VPN to slow your connection down between 25% to 50%.
Israel is in a strange position. It’s small, but surprisingly technologically advanced. It’s home to many popular startups and is at the cutting edge of cybersecurity. And yet its privacy laws lag far behind and it’s home to a government that’s willing to censor its citizens Internet access.
Using a VPN might be the best of both worlds. You don’t have to worry about the effects of outdated privacy laws, you protect your data, and you’ll be able to access all corners of the Internet.
Detailed Information About Israeli VPNs in 2021
Primary Official Language: Hebrew
Domain Extension: .il
Local Google Domain: google.il
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Enemy of the Internet?
Data & Security
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The Israeli Law, Information and Technology Authority
Data Retention Required?
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Data Protection Officers Required?
Breach Notifications Required?
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