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Organizations Involved in Formulating Policy on Non-Ionizing Radiation in Israel

In Israel, responsibility for formulating policy on non-ionizing radiation, and the authority for its implementation, does not devolve on a single entity.  A number of government ministries and public bodies deal with this issue.

 

Consequently, if you wish to obtain information on the cellular/mobile base station in proximity to your dwelling, you should refer to the Ministry of Environmental Protection (Hebrew), which is responsible for granting permits for the installation and operation of cellular antennas.  On the other hand, if you seek information on the guidelines regarding non-ionizing radiation in schools, the Ministry of Education is the authority responsible for regulating exposure of students to radiation from non-ionizing radiation sources within the school grounds. This Ministry must, among other issues, make decisions regarding the use of mobile phones by students (Hebrew), wireless internet systems, and radiation from the electric grid (ELF), such as electric wires and transformers within the school premises (Hebrew).

 

For your convenience we have listed the different ministries and public bodies concerned with various aspects of non-ionizing radiation.  Also, if you have a specific question, or require further information on a particular issue, you may contact us through our Website, at the "I have a Question" tag.

 

MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

The Department for Prevention of Noise and Radiation (Hebrew) in the Ministry of Environmental Protection is active in this field by virtue of its authority established by the Non-ionizing radiation Law. Its function is to determine the criteria required to ensure that environmental radiation will not endanger the public, or cause environmental damage. The radiation commissioner grants installation and operational permits, or type permits for sources of non-ionizing radiation, according to the different types of radiation and the criteria determined by the law.  In addition, the Ministry is responsible for monitoring and controlling these sources through professionals in district and regional environmental units throughout the country, and by certified radiation inspectors.

 

The Non-ionizing radiation Law, passed by the Knesset in 2006, empowered the Ministry of Environmental Protection to regulate the issue of installation and operation of sources of radiation by means of radiation permits, to ensure the safe use of these sources.  According to the law, any source of non-ionizing radiation must comply with the requirements of the Ministry, and not cause, under maximal operative conditions, exposure of the public to radiation levels above those determined by the Ministries of Environmental Protection and of Health.

 

The guiding principle for the Ministry of Environmental Protection in general, and for non-ionizing radiation in particular, is the precautionary principle, according to which the Ministry strives to minimize exposure of the public to radiation as far as possible.  Another important principle in the issue of radiation protection is the principle of justification, which states the use of non-ionizing radiation-emitting sources will be justified only if its benefit to the public in general outweighs the potential risks involved in their use, while alternatives are investigated.

 

 

MINISTRY OF HEALTH

The Ministry of Health is responsible for public health.  On the issue of non-ionizing radiation, the Ministry of Health serves in an advisory capacity in determining policy that has a bearing on public health.  Consequently, the Ministry of Health voices its opinions on the health effects resulting from policy making at different levels.

 

For instance, when the Ministry of Education formulates and updates its guidelines regarding the use of Wi-Fi in schools, it does so in collaboration with Ministry of Health experts, and takes into account their opinions and recommendations.

 

It is important to note that the consultation with the Ministry of Health on this issue is also covered by the Non-Ionizing Radiation Law (pdf document available for downloading - Hebrew) and the regulations, especially those determining that the maximal allowed level of exposure of the public to non-ionizing radiation, will be formulated in consultation with the Ministry of Health (paragraph 25(b)(1) of the Non-ionizing Radiation Law).

 

The precautionary principle is a guiding principle, implemented at the level of the Ministry's policy and at the individual level, while providing guidelines to the public on the various precautions that can be taken to minimize exposure. Thus, for example, in July 2008 the Ministry of Health published recommendations, including the recommendations to ensure distancing mobile phones and other radiation-emitting sources from the body.

 

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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

In Israel, the compulsory education law is operative, so that the Ministry of Education (Hebrew) is responsible, among its duties, for ensuring the health and safety of students and teaching staff in educational institutions.  To this end, the Ministry publishes guidelines and procedures through Directorial circulars.  Among other issues these deal with striving for a balance between advancing technology and safeguarding the health of students and staff in educational institutions.

 

On this issue the Ministry of Education published a number of circulars, updated periodically and based on expert opinions from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Communications, mass media, the TNUDA center, and so on. In these circulars the Ministry of Education dealt, among other topics, with mobile phones, Wi-Fi, and the electric grid ELF at educational institutions.

 

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MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS

The Ministry of Communications is responsible, among its tasks, for developing the communications infrastructure for Israel, while allowing for competition in the telecommunications market. The Ministry is responsible for regulating the deployment of frequencies and allocates frequency ranges to all communications operators in the country (civil, police, military). 

 

The Ministry is responsible for licensing and supervising communication service providers, and for granting permits to mobile phone companies.  These permits define the rights and obligations of the company, and the Ministry's means of supervising their activities.

 

The Ministry is also responsible for the import and export of non-ionizing radiation-emitting wireless equipment and end-user-devices and grants permits for the use of end-user-devices (such as mobile phones and wireless phones).  In addition, the Ministry of Communications collaborates in the formulation and updating of ordinancess in accordance with the Non-ionizing radiation Law.

 

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MINISTRY OF NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE, ENERGY AND WATER RESOURCES

The Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources is responsible for all systems relating to energy and natural resources of the State of Israel, among them: electricity, petrol, cooking gas, natural gas, energy conservation, water, sewage, oil exploitation, quarries, etc. 

 

The Ministry supervises public and private bodies operating in these fields while regulating the market, consumer protection, and environmental protection.  The Ministry strives to strengthen and develop the electricity sector, while minimizing external issues from the use of electricity (especially environmental and health effects).

 

In the electricity sector, the Ministry is involved in the generation of electricity and its tariffs, and setting guidelines for public electrical safety..  The electricity authority within the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources, is responsible for the electrical sector planning of the country and regulating its operations, including the safety level.  The electricity authority is responsible for, the submission of development plans of the electricity system, National Outline Plan in electricity, approval of plans for the construction of power lines of various voltages, etc.

 

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MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR

The Ministry of the Interior (Hebrew) deals, among other subjects, with planning and construction.  The Ministry is responsible for national and regional planning institutes and for their relationships with the local authority.  The Ministry deals through the planning authority (Hebrew), which reviews construction plans throughout the country.  These reviews are conducted by various planning and construction committees; local, regional and national.  The national outline plan (NOP) is the program that determines planning over the whole country, and includes the planning and deployment of antennas and power lines.  A number of national outline plans exist that deal with sources of non-ionizing radiation:

  • NOP 10 – partial national master plan that aims to define borders and designate areas for power stations and the electric power grid.
  • NOP 36b - national master plan aiming to create a planning framework for the deployment of large broadcast facilities, so as to ensure optimal coverage of transmission and reception of wireless communication.
  • NOP 36a – national master plan that determines guidelines for the deployment of smaller and tiny broadcasting facilities, including the deployment of cellular base stations.  Its aim is to enable coverage for transmission and reception of wireless communication throughout the country whilepreventing radiation hazards, minimizing the damage to the environment and the landscape, and making the process of their installation efficient.

 

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MINISTRY OF ECONOMY

The Ministry of Economy is amongst others the coordinator focus for promoting economic growth in Israel. The Ministry deals with a wide variety of subjects.  Among those relevant to non-ionizing radiation one may mention:

  • Research and Development (R&D), dealt with by the Chief Scientist. The "Research and Development Law" allows for bonuses, grants, and tax exemptions for companies dealing with R&D and the integration of Israeli companies in projects financed by binational and multinational bodies.
  • Encouragement and support for the export of human capital development by training professional and technological personnel.
  • Standardization and accreditation – promotion of official standardization and its enforcement.  Support for the activities of the "Laboratory Accreditation Authority".  The standardization law grants authority to the Ministry in dealing with formulation and updating of binding official standards and their enforcement, to ensure public safety. Consumer protection – the "Consumer Protection Law" provides protection for consumers through supervision of fair trade rules and provision of tools to enforce the law.  The Ministry of Economy aims to promote and strengthen consumer awareness of the public, through the Commissioner for Consumer Protection and the Israeli Consumer Council.
  • Employee Rights and labor relations – The Ministry deals with policy making and occupational health and safety, emergency personnel, and employment of foreign workers.
  • The standards authority in the Ministry of Economy is responsible for official standards for products on the Israeli market, among them non-ionizing radiation-emitting devices (microwave ovens, light bulbs and all other electrical equipment).

 

In 2002, the Consumer Protection Act (information on non-ionizing radiation emitted from mobile phones) was published, specifying that mobile phones may not be sold without instructions in their packaging that includes labelling and warning about the emission of non-ionizing radiation from the device, and that the relevant information on the level of radiation emitted (specific Absorption Rate – SAR)  must be displayed, to enable comparison between different devices regarding the level of radiation emitted.

 

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Occupational Health and Safety Administration – Ministry of Economy

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is responsible for formulating policy on occupational safety, employee health, occupational hygiene, and supervision and enforcement of various laws and regulations on these issues at the workplace, including the topic of non-ionizing radiation.

 

In the occupational safety regulations (environmental and biological monitoring of employees against harmful agents) that became effective in 2011, the Ministry of Economy adopted the biological indices for occupational exposure determined by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), whose task is to promote occupational and environmental health.

 

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Standards Institute of Israel

The Standards Institute of Israel (SII - a sub-unit of the Ministry of Economy) is a national institute operating under the Standards Law.  Its function is to standardize and ensure a suitable level of quality of products and to approve them before they reach the market.  The procedure of standardization (its chief function) includes the preparation of a technical document that serves as a standard for a particular product or service.  This standard comprises all the details required for the operation of the product, such as specifications on raw materials, packaging, labelling, etc. 

 

The SII is responsible for issuing an Israeli Standards Mark for any non-ionizing radiation-emitting device in use  in Israel (mobile phones, wireless phones, remote controls, laser pointers, air-conditioners, and so on.

 

Additionally, the SII is authorized by the Ministry of Environmental Protection to perform electromagnetic radiation testing. The Electronics and information and communications technology (ICT) Laboratory of the SII deals, among other issues, with safety of electricity, communications equipment, and electromagnetic radiation testing calibration and measurement. Laboratory of Electronics and Telecommunication Standards Institute, among other things deals with the safety of electrical, communications equipment, electromagnetic radiation testing, calibration and measurement testing instruments, and more.

 

The Electrical Laboratory of the SII deals with testing a variety of products, among them household appliances, lighting fixtures, industrial and domestic electrical panels, electrical accessories, transformers, motors, cables, batteries, and electrical safety and power efficiency .  The following services, among others, are provided by the laboratory for the industry in Israel and abroad:  safety and quality testing, Israeli standards, approval of manufacturing processes in industrial plants.

 

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Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene

The Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene is a public corporation that promotes safety and hygiene in the workplace environment and in the community.  It operates an information center that serves the commercial community on topics of safety and hygiene at work, and one can approach it for information in this field.

 

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Alongside the bodies directly and continuously involved, the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Finance are active in formulating overall policies, in an effort to strike a balance between the interests of the Israeli economy as a whole and the policies formulated by the different ministries in this field.

 

 

 

 21.2.16