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There has been a 30 percent increase in the number of Israeli Internet users in the past eight months. According to the latest Teleseker Internet Monitor (TIM) survey conducted by TNS-Teleseker, about 2.2 million Israelis aged 13 and over - nearly 33 percent of the population - use the Internet. The previous YNS survey, conducted in May 2002, found that 1.7 million Israelis surfed the Net, up just 6 percent over the December 2001 survey. The number of Israeli Internet users has doubled since the organization began conducted its surveys of Internet use in June 2000 .

The TIM survey is a periodic telephone poll of a representative national sampling of 850 Internet users aged 13 and over living in Jewish localities. The latest survey found that despite the increase in the number of users, there was only a slight increase in the number of households that are connected to the Internet (from 49 percent to 50 percent).

"During the last survey we found that the average number of users per household rose from 2 to 2.4," explained Dori Shadmon, the CEO of TNS. "This means that not many more households have hooked up to the Internet, but there has been in an increase in the number of surfers within each household."

The latest survey also found an increase in the number of teenaged Internet users. Until now only 57 percent of Israeli teens surfed, but the recent survey found that that figure has risen to 75 percent, which also affects the proportion of young surfers among Internet users in general.

According to the survey, the number of people who log onto the Internet at least once a week has risen from 64 percent to 69 percent, which means that every day at least 1.5 million Israeli are using the Internet. The percentage of surfers who use the Internet at work has declined (from 36 to 32 percent), possibly due to tighter supervision in the workplace.

The most popular uses of the Internet were and still are: information searches (85.8 percent); email (80.8 percent) and downloading files (63.2 percent). The fields of interest for information searches have also remained basically unchanged: tours and travel (50 percent); goods and services (30 percent) and sports (26 percent).

The greatest area of growth in Internet use was in the reading of online newspapers. In June 2002, only 29.4 percent of interviewees said they went to news sites, while in February 2003 this figure rose to 50.6 percent. Conversely, there was a drop in participation in chat rooms - down from 42 percent in June 2000 to just 34.2 percent in the recent survey.

In response to a question on the subject, most poll subjects said they pay no attention to ads on websites. A majority - 61.4 percent - said they had not clicked on an ad link in the past year, while 4.1 percent said they had looked at an Internet ad in the past three months and 6.8 percent had clicked an ad link in the 24 hours prior to the survey. The survey also revealed that the less a user surfs the net, the less likely he or she is to click on ad links. 71 percent of "light users" said they had not clicked an ad link in the past year, compared to 53.6 percent of "heavy users," who said that they had. Only 3.6 percent of light users sad they had clicked an ad link in the past 24 hours, compared to 8.7 percent of heavy users.

The survey also found that light users tend to go to a limited number of sites only. 69 percent of light users reported that they visit between only one and five sites in any given week, compared with 18 percent of heavy users. Conversely, only 5 percent of light users reported visiting over 20 sites per week, compared to 40.5 percent of heavy users.