A research conducted by VIVID Management systems was selected to be cited by the Knight Ridder network of 32 newspapers and publications in the United States.
ISRAEL GOT LATE START IN ADDRESSING Y2K
Friday, December 17, 1999
NOMI MORRIS, Knight Ridder Foreign Service
In a country that prides itself on being the high-tech capital of the Middle East, many Israelis are getting nervous that a late start on Y2K-readiness testing will land them in low-tech chaos on New Year’s Day.
Known here as “Bug 2000,” the looming two-digit changeover from 99 to 00 recently registered nearly a “seven” on a local consulting firm’s gauge of how worried business people are about potential computer glitches. Zero is completely indifferent and 10 means “on the verge of a nervous breakdown.”
“Israel got a late start; it’s difficult to say whether we caught up,” said David Avney, founder of Vivid Management Systems, a business information and consulting firm. “There is an estimated 15 percent chance of faults, which is still very high. We don’t know whether it will be in crucial systems. The risk is because nobody knows what will happen.”
As a precaution, the Israeli government has decided to cancel flights Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 to and from Ben Gurion International Airport, which uses 403 computerized systems. Plans for an economic state of emergency – meant to be activated only in wartime – have been pulled off the shelf. And in a surprise move, Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission has announced it will close the Dimona nuclear power plant in the Negev Desert on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
After more than two years of testing at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, the agency has decided to gradually restart Dimona and another nuclear research stations on Jan. 2 under continuous inspection.
“Residents of Israel have no reason for concern,” the agency assured the public. “The plants are ready to overcome Bug 2000 safely.”
On the positive side, Sunday, Jan. 2, is a regular working day in Israel and the Tel Aviv stock exchange likely will be the first trading floor of an industrialized nation to open in the third millennium.
And because New Year’s falls on the Sabbath, Israel’s Chief Rabbinate decided to grant special permits to allow public employees to work on the day of rest – as long as the work involves matters of life and death, as is stipulated by Jewish religious law.