September 3rd, 2017
191,204 files out of 14.8 Million: extent of archival records accessible to the public
1.29%: state of access to Israeli government archives

A new data sheet by Akevot shows roughly 99% of materials deposited in Israel’s major government archives are unavailable for the public, while these archives deny public access to catalogue lists for 94% of the records they hold.

Download the data sheet here

Principle findings:
– Of some 15 Million files in the major government archives, only 1.29% are available for the public: 191,204 at most.
– Access to the IDF & Defense Establishment Archives (IDEA) is particularly limited: only 0.4% of files held there are made available for public access.
– In the Israel State Archives (ISA) the recent policy of halting access to paper documents and allowing digital-only access via its website, severely harms access to its declassified records: 64% of the materials previously available for public access was not yet uploaded to the ISA’s website.
– Both ISA and IDEA do not allow access to the catalogues of their holdings. Archive users may use index lists which cover only 6% of the files.

In recent weeks state of access to the archives was worsened further, as deputy attorney general Raz Nizri has instructed the ISA to cease performing declassification archival records it holds in cases where depositors abdicate their responsibility of declassifying for public access. The immediate result is the stalled declassification of most materials kept in the Israel State Archives.