The UK and Israel have entered a pact that will see them working together on a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) around digital government, which they say will help create opportunities for future generations.

In an announcement issued this afternoon by the UK Government’s Cabinet Office, Minister Francis Maude pointed to Israel’s reputation at the forefront of innovation in the digital realm as a key factor in its move to align itself with the country.

“When I visited last year, I saw how Israel has a forward-thinking approach to digital innovation, just like the UK,” said Maude. “This Government’s long-term plan is all about creating modern, digital public services that are so good people prefer to use them. So, we will look to find new ways of working with Israel’s impressive array of digital businesses and draw on its culture of entrepreneurship.”

The MoU was signed at the Israeli Prime Minister’s office by the UK Government’s Chief Technology Officer Liam Maxwell, and by Harel Locker, Director-General of the Israeli Prime Minister’s office. The agreement constitutes a commitment by both countries through adhering to the following:

  • Cooperating on the exchange of information and experiences in the areas of open markets, open standards and open source
  • Collaborating to ensure each has effective capability and development streams when developing digital public services
  • Setting the foundations to develop other mechanisms for international collaboration

This news follows on from David Cameron’s visit to Israel this week, with the UK Prime Minister evidently keen to capitalize on existing trade relations between the countries. Indeed, it’s thought that last year alone, bilateral trade between Britain and Israel amounted to more than £5 billion.

“There’s a great deal we can learn from one another,” continued Maude. “Sharing knowledge and experience will maximise growth, efficiency and creativity in technology. When we open up government business to the best digital and technology companies, we open the door to innovation and growth.”

The UK Government entered a similar agreement with Estonia last year, another country that has emerged at the forefront of digital innovation. Indeed, Estonia is among the most connected countries in the world.

“Open markets with open standards everyone can use is a key approach the UK is taking to building a digital government based on user needs,” added Maxwell today.