Source: Israel's Documented Story
The Israel State Archives (ISA) in Jerusalem recently launched an English-language blog, Israel's Documented Story. Its purpose, as its title suggests, will be to tell stories about Israel based on the rich collections of documentation in the possession of the Israel State Archives. This is part of the aim of the ISA to create user-friendly digital access to its held material, and insert it into the public sphere and public discourse.
Israel’s Chief Archivist, Yaacov Lozowick, told Tablet Magazine why he is publishing a blog for the general public: “The mission of the archives is to transfer the documentation of the government to the possession of the governed,” he explains. “Since much of the content is both fascinating and relevant to most aspects of society’s life, enabling the citizens to have free and easy access to their documentation—within the obvious constraints—will enrich the public discourse and strengthen Israeli democracy.”
The Israel State Archives - currently holds some 40 km of shelf space of valuable records of the institutions of the State of Israel and of previous administrations in Palestine – from the Ottoman period (material from 1838 to 1918) and the British Mandatory period (1918 – 1948) as well as collections originating with institutions of the Arab community in Palestine during these periods.
The Israel State Archives contains, inter alia, documents, maps, postage stamps, official publications of the various government ministries, the Knesset, Israel's parliament, and the President's Residence; stenographic records of government meetings from 1948 onwards; minutes of Knesset Committee sessions; records of governmental commissions of enquiry and legal documentation, including records of the High Court of Justice and land registry records. In addition, the Israel State Archives holds many private archives of institutions and people of importance in the history of Palestine and Israel. It also houses a variety of audio-visual records, including films documenting events from the time of the British Mandate onwards, such as the trial of Adolf Eichmann, audio recordings and video tapes with testimonies of central figures in Israel; audio recordings of speeches, Knesset sessions, ceremonies and many other events, as well as a collection of some 100,000 photographs.
The Archives holds the fundamental documents of the State of Israel, (foremost of which is the Declaration of Independence), the Law of Return, the laws of the state and international agreements and treaties which the state has signed over the years, such as the Armistice Agreements with the Arab states, the reparations agreement with the Federal Republic of Germany, the peace treaties with Egypt and with Jordan, the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (the so-called "Oslo Accords") and the exchange of letters with the PLO, and more.
The departments of the Israel State Archives are in charge of all instruction, supervision, preservation, computerization and publication activities.