Archives of the Jewish Settlements Project
Petition to the High Court, August 2020
During 2019 the Taub Center for Israel Studies began a project designed to facilitate research into the growth of Jewish settlements beyond Israel’s 1967 borders. The first step in this project is to identify and make available records of official, semi-official and private bodies engaged in the settlement program over the past 50 years. A small proportion of these records have become available as the Israel State Archives processes and declassifies files in accordance with the requirements of Israeli law. By focusing attention on the slow pace of the release of official records, and by identifying record holdings that have not been transferred to the State Archives, contrary to the law, the Taub Center Settlements Project will enable research on the basis of the broadest possible collection of records. It is a multifaceted project with the sole aim of enabling research into one of Israel’s major national undertakings.
There are many reasons that government records are not open to research. Usually these are related to bureaucratic and budget considerations. However, in recent years the Office of the Israeli Military Censor has asserted the right to review records that have been officially declassified, before they are released to the public. There is no basis in law for this intervention, and it creates a significant additional obstacle to the transparency required of government policy. The petition to the High Court challenges the right of the Censor to prevent the release of documents held by the Israel State Archives.
The Taub Center for Israel Studies will post updates on our website as the petition progresses.