A special project by the National Library in collaboration with Facebook Israel in honor of the country's 71st Independence Day - come identify and tag your loved ones, family members and friends in these rare and historic images of IDF soldiers from the National Library collections
Among the many treasures preserved in the National Library of Israel are thousands of photographs documenting the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces throughout the history of the State of Israel. As part of the massive digitization project undertaken by the Library in recent years, these old photographs are being brought back to life, with the yellowing negatives being converted into high resolution images.
However, in many cases the Library is lacking information relating to the identities of the soldiers appearing in the photographs – and that’s where you come in…
Last summer, the National Library and Facebook Israel launched a joint project dedicated to making Israel’s cultural treasures accessible to the general public. As part of this ongoing initiative, today we are uploading a series of photo albums featuring images of IDF soldiers taken during Israel’s various wars in the past. We hereby invite the public to identify and tag their loved ones, family members and friends who served in these wars. In this way, their names will be commemorated in the history pages of the State of Israel, their memories preserved for the benefit of future generations alongside other Israeli cultural treasures of at the National Library.
The National Library collection includes more than 2.5 million photographs documenting the history of the Land and State of Israel. This is the world’s largest collection of Israeli photographs spanning a period of over 150 years. This unique assortment of photographs in fact includes several different collections, most notably the Dan Hadani Collection – an archive of more than a million photographs documenting almost every event in the history of the country. For decades, Dan Hadani and his team of press photographers documented political and cultural events, as well as wars and periods of national mourning. The photographers accompanied IDF soldiers during the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem in the Six Day War, during the battles in Sinai and the Golan Heights in the Yom Kippur War, and during Operation Peace for Galilee in Lebanon. Wherever soldiers were sent to fight and defend the State, these photographers would follow.
Dan Hadani donated the collection to the National Library, where it will be preserved for future generations, but the Library staff encountered a problem: the information accompanying the photographs was not always complete. In many cases, it includes only the location and date of the photograph – “1982, Peace for Galilee”, is a typical example. In light of this, the Library decided to turn to the general public, and with the help of Facebook Israel we are now distributing these photographs to as many people as possible – so that they can help provide the most important information of all – who are the soldiers who appear in the pictures and what are the stories behind them.
“We are happy to share with the Israeli public the important task of preserving the culture and heritage of the State of Israel,” says Yaron Deutscher, head of the National Library’s Digital Access Division. “We are confident that through this cooperation with Facebook, which enables us to extract these cultural treasures from the archives of the Library and make them accessible to large audiences, a great deal of information will be gathered, enabling students, researchers and the general public to know more about what has happened here since the establishment of the State.”
Ahead of Israel’s Independence Day, the photographs are being uploaded to the National Library’s Facebook page, while the information received from the public will be preserved in the Library’s catalog, alongside cultural treasures of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, so that the sons and daughters of future generations will be able to know and understand more about what has transpired here over the past 71 years. This is a long-term project, and in the coming months we will share more and more images with the public.
Adi Soffer-Teeni, GM of Facebook Israel: “Today in the digital age we see a change in the ability to tell the story of the establishment of the State. We can now tell that story in a profound way that makes the history and the people who were there tangible and accessible to the public. A state’s past is one of the greatest assets it has and it outlines what it is and what it will be. This treasure trove of images tells the story of the State throughout its various stages and connects us to the people who were there and thanks to whom we are now celebrating our 71st Independence Day. I am very excited about this and I hope that we will be able to connect names to faces in these exceptionally rare photographs.”
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