Toldot Yisrael - Documenting Israel's 1948 Generation

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Learning Resources
Feb. 02, 2017

Source: Toldot Yisrael 


Called by former Israeli Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, “a project of paramount importance for Israel and its supporters worldwide,” Toldot Yisrael is a Jerusalem based nonprofit dedicated to recording and sharing the firsthand testimonies of the men and women who helped found the State of Israel. Since 2007, Toldot Yisrael has been interviewing the members of Israel’s 1948 generation in order to capture and preserve the epic story of Israel's founding before it is too late. So far, we have interviewed more than 850 of Israel's founders and recorded over 3,000 hours of powerful and unique footage. Toldot Yisrael’s aim is to conduct hundreds more – while it is still possible.

Toldot Yisrael works in partnership with Israel’s Center for Defense Studies, the veterans' associations of the Haganah, Palmach, Etzel, and Lehi, the Jabotinsky Institute, and the National Police Archive in identifying candidates for our interviews.

Interviews average 2 – 2.5 hours but are longer as necessary. During the first half hour the interviewee is encouraged to talk about events pre-1948 including personal memories, country of origin, Aliyah to Israel, home life, education, community, youth movements etc. The interviewee’s personal account of the period up to and including the War of Independence makes up the next 1 – 1.5 hours. During the final half an hour the interviewee can recall post-1948 experiences and is then given an opportunity to display photographs, documents, artifacts and/or mementos. Each item is filmed individually, while the interviewee describes the item off-camera.

Toldot Yisrael has recently reached an agreement securing a permanent home for Toldot Yisrael's archive in Israel's National Library. The partnership with the Library will allow us to catalogue the collection, develop platforms for making this material available to the public at large, and cooperate on joint educational ventures. More importantly, this will ensure preservation and access to this invaluable material in perpetuity. Click here to view full length interviews as part of the Toldot Yisrael collection on the National Library’s website.

Several interviews addressed the Six-Day War and Jerusalem. Toldot Yisrael, in cooperation with Yad Levi Eshkol, has prepared a series of brief (1-3 minute, Hebrew with English subtitles) clips to mark the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, available in a YouTube playlist. A Facilitator’s Guide containing biographical information as well as a brief glossary of terms is available on our website.

Updated: Nov. 27, 2017
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