National Library of Israel to preserve 200,000 recordings of Hamas massacres for posterity

The huge cache of videos, photos and text messages documents the atrocities unfolding in real time


The October 7 Hamas massacres were recorded on hundreds of thousands of photographs, videos and text messages, making it one of the first such atrocities to be documented online as it happened.

Now the National Library of Israel (NLI) has launched an initiative to preserve this documentation in real time, becoming the national database for the events of one of the most infamous days in Israel’s history.  

The Israeli Civil Administration has already transferred about 200,000 photographs and videos collected by its operations room to the NLI to be preserved for future generations. 

"It is already clear that even after the war’s end, the need to understand, study and research the events of October 7 and the current war, and their social, cultural, military and political consequences will remain relevant and important for decades to come,” said Dr Raquel Ukeles, head of collections at NLI.  

“The work of collecting, preserving materials, and making them publicly available requires the combined resources and joint commitment of all of the organisations that deal with documentation and preservation, and we are grateful to all who participate.” 

Given the ephemeral nature of digital media, diligent preservation efforts are needed to ensure the evidence is available and accessible in the long-term. 

To date, the project has determined there are tens of thousands of texts, audio and video recordings of fallen victims and fighters, interviews with survivors, families of hostages, plus hundreds of thousands of video recordings created by the IDF and the security forces, advocacy organisations and private individuals, as well as by the Hamas terrorists themselves.  

The project will also document and preserve websites related to the massacre and the war, including posts on X/Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and other social media, as well as publications from various government sites, local authorities, southern and northern border communities, the security and defence establishment, and more. 

Researchers will continue to collect all documentation relating to the October 7 attacks and those interested in contributing relevant material are able to do so through the NLI website.

The NLI, which serves as “the dynamic institution of communal memory for the Jewish people worldwide”, holds the world's largest collections of textual Judaica, Jewish and Israeli music, and maps of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, in addition to collections of Jewish and Islamic manuscripts, rare books, photographs and personal archives.   

The official opening of its new £185 million building in Jerusalem, due to be held last month, was postponed because of the October 7 attacks but the building is operating on a limited basis.

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