Israel: Testimonies on founding of the state go online

  • 8 May 2014
Nahman Raz, head of Israeli Noar Haoved youth movement in 1948, as he is interviewed
Image caption Nahman Raz (R) headed the Noar Haoved youth movement in 1948

A set of video interviews with people who lived through the founding of Israel in 1948 has gone online as part of a project to build a national archive.

More than 3,000 hours of testimony in interviews with 700 people have been recorded by Jerusalem-based non-profit organisation Toldot Yisrael, The Times of Israel reports. They are now being made public through a tie-up with the National Library of Israel. The head of Toldot Yisrael, Eric Halivni, says he was inspired by Steven Spielberg's work interviewing and filming Holocaust survivors. "I thought there ought to be a continuation or parallel project about the founding of the state of Israel."

The Times of Israel highlights the case of Elad Peled, who was 20 when he became the commander of Hebrew forces in the majority-Arab city of Safed in the spring of 1948. Today Peled says he feels privileged to have taken part in the founding of a state, but he has mixed feelings about the end result. The continuing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians 66 years after the declaration of independence is "not exactly what we thought would happen", he says, adding "That's life. It's not a textbook."

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