Spelling out Hebrew domain names in English has created some confusion in Israel. As internetnews.com has pointed out, “the Hebrew word for an orange could be spelled out as ‘tapuz,’ ‘tapooz,’ ‘tapoos’ and more,” meaning it’s a challenge to “spell out the Hebrew names of sites in Latin characters.”
Fret no more, Israeli web addicts and domain-name owners. The Hebrew-language site Calcalist, via YNetNews, reports that the Israel Internet Association “has begun an early registration process for website addresses in Hebrew with the “.il” country code. The Hebrew domain names will end in either “.com,” “.net” or “.org” in Hebrew letters, according to internetnews.com. The popular “.co.il” will not be available, the site reports; its use is pending review “by international standards bodies.”
Not everyone’s enthusiastic about the Hebraic domains, though. “I don’t see many Israeli companies adopting Hebrew characters for their web addresses — certainly companies that are interested in selling abroad wouldn’t consider such a thing, for obvious reasons,” David Shamah, a technology reporter for The Jerusalem Post told jpost.com. “Most Israelis do their surfing in English, and have a propensity/preference for that ‘abroad’ feeling.”
As jpost notes, “the decision to introduce web addresses in non-Latin characters was taken in November 2009 by Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the governing international body in charge of web domain names. Characters in Hebrew, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese and Cyrillic (the Russian alphabet) are all now available.
“Before the decision last year, domain names were limited to the 26 characters of the Latin alphabet, as well as 10 numerals and the hyphen. But now up to 100,000 new characters are available, a fact technology analysts say will make the Internet significantly more accessible.”
Regardless, Shamah said he doesn’t see many sites “converting” to Hebrew. “Just take a walk in a typical mall here,” he said. “How many stores actually have Hebrew names?”