Cyber-race is on as web goes Hebrew

By Nathan Jeffay, December 29, 2010
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There was a stampede for website addresses in Israel this week, as all-Hebrew addresses went on sale.

While Israelis have been able in the past to buy website addresses in Hebrew characters, they end in .com, requiring visitors to switch their keyboard between languages and change the direction of typing.

But instead of .com, the new addresses will end in a suffix made up of Hebrew characters.

This suffix will be decided upon over the next few months, but it is likely to be . – which translates as .Israel. For the moment, the new website addresses will be accessed using the .co.il suffix.

The new web addresses went on sale at 2pm on Sunday, and "many thousands" have been registered, said Benny Lipsicas, registry administrator for the Israel Internet Association, which manages Israel's web space.

Mr Lipsicas said he did not yet have information on what premium addresses like Cohen and Levy are selling for, but experts expect them to fetch handsome prices.

But Mr Lipsicas said the new addresses have been introduced
in order to help the public - not to make money.

"It is about making the internet accessible to everyone," he said.

    Last updated: 3:05pm, December 29 2010