The founder of the Israel Press and Photo Agency is transferring a massive trove of nostalgic photographs dating back to the 1960's to the National Library, which put part of the collection on display on Monday for the media.
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At Haaretz's request the exhibition included photographs from the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in honor of the eve of the annual Jewish Day of Atonement, which also marks 43 years since that war broke out.
The photographs on display showed senior army officers and other leaders, as well as ordinary military men, with tanks and armored personnel carriers in action at the time.
For decades the photographs had been stored at the home of the agency’s founder, Dan Hadani, who, now 93, has decided that the time has come to make the archive more accessible to the public. He has begun transferring the collection to the National Library in Jerusalem, and in the coming months, the library plans to make them available on its website.
“You’ve guessed correctly,” Hadani said in a phone interview with Haaretz from his home in the Tel Aviv suburb of Givatayim. “It’s because of my age.”
Hadani declined to say whether the photographs had been sold to the library or were a donation. The library wouldn't comment, either.
The IPPA archive contains a million photos. The Yom Kippur War collection includes pictures of onetime Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and other senior military leaders as well as soldiers who fought in the Golan Heights, tanks that rolled along the Suez Canal, entertainment troupes, and the evacuation of the wounded.
Between 1965 and 2000, IPPA provided news photographs to press outlets in Israel and abroad, including Haaretz.
Hadani, a Holocaust survivor and career soldier, established IPPA immediately after his discharge from the Israel Defense Forces.
The collection impressively documents the country’s modern history and Israeli society and culture in the second half of the 20th century, from the period prior to the 1967 Six-Day War through the Second Intifada, which erupted in 2000. It covers the wars, peace agreements, terrorist attacks, demonstrations and political changes of these eras.
“Thanks to the quality and richness of the collection, we have a broad and wonderful range of events great and small in the country spread before us, various people from the fields of politics, society and culture, major events and obscure ones, social sectors from the center of society and from the margins, all accorded visual representation on a high level,” said Dr. Hezi Amiur, the library's curator.
Until now most of the library's photos covered earlier periods of the country's history, from the mid-19th century through the British Mandate period.