The Budget Digital Book of Israel

The Budget Digital Book of Israel

Organisation: Calcalist (Israel)

Publication Date: 04/09/2015



Every year, the Israeli Ministry of Finance publishes the “Annual Budget Booklet” for the forthcoming year. The portly booklet contains thousands of pages and an endless number of tables and facts. This booklet is one of the most important governmental documents, a primary source of knowledge about its priorities – yet it is almost inaccessible to the general public, but rather to a small group of academic experts. In recent years, a non-governmental organization – the Open Knowledge Foundation – has tried to build a platform for visualizing the budget, but the platform has remained in Beta form and in its current state cannot be understood by laymen. This year, the Financial Daily Newspaper “Calcalist” has created a pioneer project by taking this important document and making it accessible to the general public. A team that was led by Shaul Amsterdamski, an award-winning economic investigative journalist, disassembled the budget booklet and rebuilt it and divided it into new chapters, ones that are composed of Israelis’ everyday lives, while depicting everything in a simple language and an accessible format. The most important parts of the booklet were translated into short, clear sentences that answer the most central questions of every taxpayer: Who really pays taxes and who does not? To what extent is the government depending on our consumption patterns? Why is the government lacking the interest to develop better public transportation? Why do we need to pay for private medical insurance if we have already paid for a national one? The Budget Digital Book is composed of 7 chapters: Income, Security Budget, Education Budget, Property and Municipal Taxes, Health, Public Transportation, and The Deficit. The Budget Digital Book has been created as a digital product suited for the iPad version of the newspaper and includes interactive content, videos and infographics. At the same time, accommodations have been made in order to place the digital book on the newspaper’s website. This project was very well received, won a lot of public attention and has been used as a primary source for discussion during the recent election process. It has also gotten fantastic reactions from the Ministry of Finance itself.

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