National Library starts campaign to identify Israeli soldiers in old photos

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The National Library of Israel, in a special collaboration with Facebook Israel, is calling on Israelis to identify and tag family members and friends in historic photos of Israeli soldiers.

The Naming the Soldiers project was launched in honor of the 71st anniversary of Israel’s birth.

The National Library in Jerusalem is home to thousands of photographs documenting the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces and its forerunners. The photographs are being digitized – from yellowing negatives to high resolution images.

On Tuesday, the library uploaded a series of photo albums to its Facebook page featuring images of Israeli soldiers taken during several wars. It is asking the public to identify and tag family members and friends so that their memories will be preserved.


The National Library collection of more than 2.5 million photos is considered to be the world’s largest of Israeli photos spanning a period of over 150 years. The archive also includes the Dan Hadani Collection, more than 1 million press photographs from Hadani’s Israel Press and Photo Agency founded in 1965, which document almost every event in the history of the country.

“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,” Yaron Deutscher, head of the National Library’s Digital Access Division, said in a statement.