The “Open Knesset” project was our first project and it is similar to Open Congress (US) and Open Parliament (UK). The project datamines all Knesset activity from the official Knesset website to allow tracking of voting, legislation and committee activities. The project was born out of a realization that citizens lacked core information about the Israeli legislative processes and thus citizens had no way of influencing legislative actions or holding their elected official accountable.
By making Knesset activity accessible to the public, the Open Knesset project enables and encourages active public participation in political discourse.
The project established an informative searchable website based on data that is mined, processed and repackaged from the official Knesset site. The processed data appears in a user-friendly format that supports all internet browsers, unlike the official Knesset site. The accessible data can be crosscut to produce results to specific searches. Additionally, visitors to the open code site may offer amendments or add entirely new layers of commentary and discussion.
Hundreds of visitors enter the site each day to review new postings, and respond to Knesset activities. The site has proven to be a useful resource for the Knesset’s own researchers at the Research and Information Center, Knesset members, Knesset staff, lobbyists, NGOs, academic researchers, journalists and media outlets, and, of course, many citizens.
We are also working on further improving several aspects of the site:
Making it more inviting to the public by revamping the design and adding clear, plain language explanations of Knesset processes.
Adding additional types of data that are currently not accessible to the public at all, such as data about the votes of Knesset committee members and video documentation of committee deliberations.
Improving communication between the public and elected officials by updating elected officials as to the feedback and visitor recommendations relevant to their proposed legislation.
Developing a system via which citizens may use the site to directly address elected officials.
Enhancing performance to cope with the growing visitor rate.
To support the project, join Open Knesset’s Facebook page, the mailing list or make a donation.