Israel Cabinet Ministries: Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure & Road Safety
97 Jaffa Rd., 91000 Jerusalem
Website: http://www.mot.gov.il/ (Hebrew)
Functions and Structure
The Ministry of Transport operates in the following areas: promoting road safety; maintaining regular, efficient traffic services; maintaining international air, sea, and overland links, and promoting safety in these routes. These objectives dictate the structure of the Ministry. For land transport, the Licensing Division, Vehicles Division, Traffic Division, Road Safety Administration, and Financial Supervision Division handle all activities regarding the condition of motor vehicles, ability of drivers, and making the infrastructure safe for traffic. The Shipping and Ports Administration handles maritime transport, and the Civil Aviation Administration handles air transport. The Meteorological Service covers all three areas.
In addition to the aforementioned line divisions, there are several units subordinate to the Director-General: Planning and Economics, Legal Counsel, Public Relations, Internal Auditing, Finance, and Emergency Arrangements. The Israel Airports Authority and the Ports and Railways Authority have a special status as corporations established by law and subordinate to the Transport Minister.
The Planning and Economics Division is responsible for overall policy and examination of the matters for which the Ministry professional staff is responsible. ne Division has seven tasks:
- advising the Minister and Ministry administration and guiding the divisions on economics and planning;
- coordinating the setting of transport policy;
- coordinating and monitoring work plans, budgets, and funding;
- formulating and implementing policy on prices, levies, and fees;
- involvement in the administration of the Airports Authority and the Ports and Railways Authority, and monitoring their activities;
- devising and coordinating information systems and transportation research;
- overall transportation planning, including involvement in physical planning and monitoring of master plans.
The Road Safety Administration is an interministry agency, established by the Transport Ministry in 1981 to coordinate activity by ministries involved in the war on traffic accidents.
The Traffic Division handles all traffic-safety activities related to road conditions, including the development of roads and transportation installations in cities and traffic engineering; maintaining regular transportation services, regulating the operations of bus and taxi companies, and monitoring the quality of their service.
The Financial Supervision Division, primarily responsible for monitoring the implementation of agreements between the government and public transportation operators, complements the Traffic Division. Israel Railways, which until 1988 was under Ministry auspices, and has since been part of the Ports and Railways Authority, maintains regular passenger and freight service.
The Civil Aviation Administration is in charge of all matters relating to civil aviation in Israel, in accordance with the Aviation Law 1927, the Aviation Services Licensing Law 5723-1963, the Air Transport Law 5740-1980, and some sections of the Airports Authority Law 5737-1977. The Administration is responsible for the safety of flights in, to, and from Israel, for orderly operation in the aviation sector, and for assuring the provision of aviation services that are efficient, convenient, and as inexpensive as possible.
The Administration's authority extends to the following areas: drafting recommendations for the Minister on comprehensive policy for domestic and international civil aviation; designating air-traffic corridors, flight paths, and existing and future airfields; initiating primary and secondary aviation legislation; setting and gazetting standards for all areas of civil-aviation operation and development; establishing and gazetting construction limits at airfields, landing strips, and adjacent areas; planning Israeli airspace in conjunction with the international authorities; and promoting foreign relations and reciprocal flight agreements.
The Shipping and Ports Administration handles all activities relating to the safety of Israeli shipping, including testing and licensing vessels and anchorages; and training, testing, and licensing maritime personnel. The Shipping and Ports Administration is also responsible for the following: guiding the activities of government ministries and other bodies so as to establish favorable conditions for the Israeli merchant marine; monitoring the leasing of foreign vessels to ensure cargoes for Israeli bottoms and to create an infrastructure for development of the merchant fleet; constant supervision of the mechanical condition and safety of merchant marine vessels; operation and maintenance of lighthouses along the coast; supervising, training, and licensing maritime personnel and maintaining shipboard discipline; ensuring that vessels observe international standards for minimum crew strengths; monitoring special issues; preventing marine pollution; economic consultancy services to all bodies in the sector; licensing and supervising small craft and their operators; operating and developing harbors; and registering Israeli and foreign-flag vessels. In times of emergency the Maritime Transport Authority operates in coordination with the National Emergency Board.
The overwhelming majority of land transport services in Israel are provided by the public bus companies, 95% of them by the Egged and Dan Cooperatives. The rest is provided by the public transportation companies in Beersheba and Nazareth (three in the latter city).
The Licensing Division runs all operations relating to the licensing of drivers, driving schools, driving teachers, and vehicles. It is also responsible for the professional training of drivers of various types of motor vehicles and for determining their professional and medical suitability - all of this to improve road safety. This division oversees motor vehicle imports; is responsible for standardization of all types of vehicles; inspects garages, maintenance services, and vehicle assessors; and handles the regulation of vehicle and parts production and environmental issues.
Supervision of Vehicle Imports: The law requires vehicle importers to guarantee maintenance services, spare parts, warranties, and supervision of the quality of imported vehicles, as well as to monitor personal imports (to ensure that personally imported vehicles are on the list of standard models approved for import).
Standardization: The Standards Department sets requirements for all types of vehicles and rec legislation on vehicle design and safety. examines the technical specification of each vehicle import license; checks a prototype of each imported vehicle, whether imported commercially personally; approves models of trailers and buses produced locally; issues general and individual registration instructions for all types of vehicles to licensing bureaus, police, IDF, and customs authorities; publishes booklets with the mandatory requirements for the various types of vehicles; and gathers information on standards, regulations, and safety requirements in other countries, analyzes them, and applies the standards in Israel.
Garages and Maintenance: The Division's departments are responsible for licensing, supervising, and auditing garages, factories, and maintenance services; licensing, supervising, auditing the towing sector; licensing and auditing vehicle assessors; enforcing laws and ordinances that relate to garages, towing, and vehicle accessors; operating an enforcement unit against illegal garages; supervising the maintenance infrastructure and service garages of vehicle importers; enforcing automotive air-quality regulations; overseeing and licensing the automotive air-conditioning sector; certifying maintenance managers; and licensing vehicle assessors.
The Spare Parts Manufacture and Trade Department oversees the legal arrangements applicable to the manufacture, import, and marketing of spare parts, including accessories, truck bodies, and trailers. Manufacturers and importers are required to install an external or internal quality control system so as to comply with international and domestic vehicle standards, as well as specific checks by the Israel Standards Institute when mandated for a particular product. The law requires spare-parts and automotive-accessory dealers to issue invoices to the consumer specifying the identity, source, and price of each item. The prices of spare parts are supervised and severe measures are taken against price-gougers.
Vehicle Manufacture: The Division supervises vehicle and bus assembly with regard to safety. Production licenses are issued to large factories with engineering capacity and a Division-approved quality-control apparatus.
Civil Aviation Administration
Licensing: Israel has 13 facilities for aircraft maintenance, 10 for licensing procedures, eight do-it-yourself maintenance facilities for aircraft (three of them for light planes); two institutes certifying technicians; eight airfields (of which three are international); 7,000 aviation personnel (including 5,400 pilots); 25 scheduled air carriers; 27 charter companies flying to and from Israel; and 18 domestic carriers (including air taxis and flight schools).
The Administration also supervises the enforcement of aviation legislation, regulations, and standards (including disciplinary sanctions and penalties), represents Israel at and participates in the discussions of the International Civil Aviation Organization and international forums on matters relating to aviation and air transport, and investigates aircraft accidents and incidents.
Shipping and Ports Administration
Some 98% (by weight) of Israel's imports and exports travel by sea; 60% of these goods are conveyed by Israeli shipping companies in various kinds of vessels (bulk carriers, container ships, multi-purpose vessels, chemicals, refrigerated ships, coal-carriers, and general-freight vessels).
The leasing of foreign vessels by Israeli shipping companies and commercial enterprises is an important element in Israel's maritime trade. The authority of the Shipping and Ports Administration to approve the leasing of foreign vessels derives from the Commodities and Services Supervision Ordinance (Supervision of Foreign Vessels) 5740-1980.
The Meteorological Service has four divisions: Forecasting and Information; Climatological Services; Engineering, Research, and Development; and Administration and Organization.
The Forecasting and Information Unit prepares weather forecasts and provides forecasting and information services. State-of-the-art equipment is used to receive cloud pictures from radar and satellites; this contributes to accuracy of short-term forecasts. Medium-range forecasts (up to five days) are also produced and distributed to the media and special users.
The Climatological Services Unit runs a network of meteorological stations throughout Israel. It collects and processes weather data, stores it in the National Data Archives, retrieves data as required, and publishes it. The Service distributes publications to subscribers in Israel and abroad.
The Engineering, Research, and Development Unit engages in applied research, development of new methods, and ongoing maintenance of meteorological equipment and its gradual replacement by automatic measurement systems. Research focuses on air-pollution risk surveys and identification of potential areas for exploiting wind energy and expanding the use of solar energy.
Supreme Transport Authority (STA), established in 1975, coordinates all matters related to the organization and optimum operation of transport during emergencies, in which case the STA becomes a command staff post headed by the Director-General. Five administrations and eight vital services are subordinate to the STA. The former are the National Land Transport Administration, the passenger Transport Administration, the Air Transport Administration, the Ports Administration, and the Marine Transport Administration. The essential services include the Meteorological Service, Israel Railways, the Licensing Offices, and the Information Services Division. Each of these administrations runs vital facilities that operate during emergencies in accordance with instructions handed n by the national headquarters of the National Emergency Board through the STA and the relevant administration.
Legal Advisor's Bureau
The Legal Advisor's Bureau provides legal advice to the Minister and Ministry administrators with regard to policy-setting in various areas; provides ongoing advice to the Minister, Ministry administrators, and units; plans and drafts the legislative infrastructure for Ministry activities in the area of land, sea, and air transport; provides legal services required for emergency and special assignments (such as strikes and disruptions to service); represents the Ministry before various Knesset and Government committees; participates in discussions of draft agreements between Israel and other countries regarding land, sea, and air transport and in international conferences; handles proceedings brought by and against the Ministry, including appeals to the High Court of Justice against the Ministry's subordinate authorities, in conjunction with the State Attorney's Office; and designates the Prosecution Department of the Legal Advisor's Bureau to make use of its general authority to prosecute. The Prosecution Department serves as the Transport Ministry's law office and represents it in investigations and charges related to the Ministry's area of responsibility.
The Ombudsman's Unit deals with complaints and appeals to the Ministry and agencies under its jurisdiction. Inter alia, the Unit provides information to the public so as to enhance service to citizens. The Unit traces how complaints are handled and carries out special assignments as required. It checks on the implementation of lessons drawn and advises Ministry administrators on improving services to the public.
Sources: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs