|Reference to legal mandate||The Legal Deposit of generally available documents|
|Items collected||Unique collections of manuscripts, special collections of books, music, radio and TV programmes, film, theatre, maps, posters, pictures, photographs, electronic documents and newspapers.|
|Size||5 million volumes|
|Budget||Approximately 100 million NIS (₪)|
The National Library of Israel (NLI; Hebrew : הספרייה הלאומית, romanized: HaSifria HaLeumit; Arabic : المكتبة الوطنية في إسرائيل), formerly Jewish National and University Library (JNUL; Hebrew : בית הספרים הלאומי והאוניברסיטאי, romanized: Beit Ha-Sfarim Ha-Le'umi ve-Ha-Universita'i), is the library dedicated to collecting the cultural treasures of Israel and of Jewish heritage. The library holds more than 5 million books, and is located on the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The National Library owns the world's largest collections of Hebraica and Judaica, and is the repository of many rare and unique manuscripts, books and artifacts.
The establishment of a Jewish National Library in Jerusalem was the brainchild of Joseph Chazanovitz (1844-1919). His idea was creating a "home for all works in all languages and literatures which have Jewish authors, even though they create in foreign cultures." Chazanovitz collected some 15,000 volumes which later became the core of the library.
The B'nai Brith library, founded in Jerusalem in 1892, was the first public library in Palestine to serve the Jewish community. The library was located on B'nai Brith street, between the Meah Shearim neighborhood and the Russian Compound.Ten years later, the Bet Midrash Abrabanel library, as it was then known, moved to Ethiopia Street. In 1920, when plans were drawn up for the Hebrew University, the B'nai Brith collection became the basis for a university library. The books were moved to Mount Scopus when the university opened five years later.
In 1948, when access to the university campus on Mount Scopus was blocked, most of the books were moved to the university's temporary quarters in the Terra Sancta building in Rehavia. By that time, the university collection included over one million books. For lack of space, some of the books were placed in storerooms around the city. In 1960, they were moved to the new JNUL building in Givat Ram.
In the late 1970s, when the new university complex on Mount Scopus was inaugurated and the faculties of Law, Humanities and Social Science returned there, departmental libraries opened on that campus and the number of visitors to the Givat Ram library dropped. In the 1990s, the building suffered from maintenance problems such as rainwater leaks and insect infestation.
In 2007 the library was officially recognized as The National Library of the State of Israel after the passage of the National Library Law.The law, which came into effect on 23 July 2008, changed the library's name to "National Library of Israel" and turned it temporarily to a subsidiary company of the University, later to become a fully independent community interest company, jointly owned by the Government of Israel (50%), the Hebrew University (25%) and other organizations.
In 2011, the library launched a website granting public access to books, periodicals, maps, photos and music from its collections.
In 2014, the project for a new home of the Library in Jerusalem was unveiled.The 34,000 square meters building, designed by the Basel-based architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, is scheduled for full completion in 2021.
The library's mission is to secure copies of all material published in Israel, in any language; all publications on the subject of Israel, the Land of Israel, Judaism and the Jewish people, published in any language, in any country in the world; and all material published in Hebrew or any of the languages spoken in the Jewish Diaspora (such as Yiddish and Ladino).
By law, two copies of all printed matter published in Israel must be deposited in the National Library. In 2001, the law was amended to include audio and video recordings, and other non-print media.Many manuscripts, including some of the library's unique volumes such the 13th century Worms Mahzor, have been scanned and are now available on the Internet.
Among the library's special collections are the personal papers of hundreds of outstanding Jewish figures, the National Sound Archives, the Laor Map Collection and numerous other collections of Hebraica and Judaica. The library also possesses some of Isaac Newton's manuscripts dealing with theological subjects.The collection, donated by the family of the collector Abraham Yahuda, includes many works by Newton about mysticism, analyses of holy books, predictions about the end of days and the appearance of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. It also contains maps that Newton sketched about mythical events to assist him in his end of days calculations. The library houses the personal archives of Martin Buber and Gershom Scholem.
Following the occupation of West Jerusalem by Haganah forces in May 1948, the libraries of a number Palestinians who fled the country as well as of other well-to-do Palestinians were transferred to the National Library.These collections included those of Henry Cattan, Khalil Beidas, Khalil al-Sakakini and Aref Hikmet Nashashibi. About 30,000 books were removed from homes in West Jerusalem, with another 40,000 taken from other cities in Mandatory Palestine. It is unclear whether the books were being kept and protected or if they were looted from the abandoned houses of their owners. About 6,000 of these books are in the library today indexed with the label AP – "Abandoned Property". The books are cataloged, can be viewed from the Library's general catalog and are regularly consulted by the public, including Arab scholars from all over the world.
The National Library of Israel completed its collection of the Max Brod archive in August 2019.
Jerusalem is a city in the Middle East, located on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, and is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital, as Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there and the State of Palestine ultimately foresees it as its seat of power; however, neither claim is widely recognized internationally.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel's second-oldest university, established in 1918, 30 years before the establishment of the State of Israel. The Hebrew University has three campuses in Jerusalem and one in Rehovot. The world's largest Jewish studies library is located on its Edmond J. Safra Givat Ram campus.
Israeli literature is literature written in the State of Israel by Israelis. Most works classed as Israeli literature are written in the Hebrew language, although some Israeli authors write in Yiddish, English, Arabic and Russian.
Mount Scopus is a mountain in northeast Jerusalem.
French Hill, also Giv'at Shapira is a neighborhood and Israeli settlement in northern East Jerusalem. It is located on territory that has been occupied since the Six-Day War in 1967 and later unilaterally annexed by Israel under the Jerusalem Law in 1980 in a move not recognized internationally. The international community considers Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, such as French Hill, illegal under international law, which the Israeli government disputes.
Giv'at Ze'ev is an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, five kilometers northwest of Jerusalem. The town was founded in 1977 on the site of the abandoned Jordanian military camp, adjacent to the site of ancient Gibeon. While it lies within the borders of the Matte Binyamin Regional Council, it is a separate municipal entity. In 2018 it had a population of 17,922.
Ammunition Hill was a fortified Jordanian military post in the northern part of Jordanian-ruled East Jerusalem and the western slope of Mount Scopus. It was the site of one of the fiercest battles of the Six-Day War. Ammunition Hill is now a national memorial site.
The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens (JBG), originally planned as successor to the National Botanic Garden of Israel on Mount Scopus which, nevertheless, still exists as a separate entity, is located in the neighborhood of Nayot in Jerusalem, on the southeastern edge of the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The garden is arranged in phytogeographic sections, featuring flora of various regions around the world. The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens opened to the public in 1985. The tropical conservatory opened in 1986 and the South Africa section was planted in 1989. The Hank Greenspan Entrance Plaza, Dvorsky Visitors’ Center and restaurant were built in 1990.
Sheikh Badr was a Palestinian Arab village on a hilltop in west Jerusalem. It was depopulated during the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine on the order of the Haganah. From 1948 to 1951, a temporary Jewish cemetery was established here; a few hundred graves still remain from that time. After 1949, the area was incorporated into a new area called Givat Ram.
Menachem Elon was an Israeli jurist and Professor of Law specializing in Mishpat Ivri, an Orthodox rabbi, and a prolific author on traditional Jewish law (Halakha). He was the head of the Jewish Law Institute of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
West Jerusalem or Western Jerusalem refers to the section of Jerusalem that remained under Israeli control after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, whose ceasefire lines delimited the boundary with the rest of the city, which was then under Jordanian control. A number of western countries such as the United Kingdom acknowledge de facto Israeli authority, but withhold de jure recognition. Israel's claim of sovereignty over West Jerusalem is more widely accepted than its claim over East Jerusalem.
Beit HaKerem is a largely secular upscale neighborhood in southwest Jerusalem. It is located between Kiryat Moshe to the northwest and Bayit VeGan to the south. Beit HaKerem has a population of 15,000.
Ramat Eshkol is an Israeli settlement and neighborhood in East Jerusalem. It was built on land captured from Jordan in the Six-Day War and was the first neighborhood built in East Jerusalem after the Six-Day War in 1967. The international community considers Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this.
The Judaica Archival Project was founded in 1987 as a non-profit preservation and access program for Rabbinics. From 1988 to 1999 the Project operated a microfilm lab at the Jewish National and University Library (JNUL) of the Hebrew University. The Project was supported by private foundations, book lovers and from the sale of facsimile copies. Over half a million pages were filmed from thousands of rare and out-of-print Hebrew works.
Givat Ram is a neighborhood in central Jerusalem. Many of Israel's most important national institutions are located in Givat Ram, among them the Parliament (Knesset), the Israel Museum, the Supreme Court, Bank of Israel, Academy of the Hebrew Language, National Library, one of the campuses of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and many government ministries' offices.
The postage stamps and postal history of Israel is a survey of the postage stamps issued by the state of Israel, and its postal history, since independence was proclaimed on May 14, 1948. The first postage stamps were issued two days later on May 16, 1948. Pre-1948 postal history is discussed in postage stamps and postal history of Palestine.
Givat HaMatos is an Israeli settlement which hosted Ethiopian Jewish and Russian immigrants in caravans. It encompasses an area of 170 dunams. It is bordered by Talpiot in the north, Gilo in the south, and Beit Safafa in the west. Israel has approved to build a new Israeli settlement there.
The Deir Yassin massacre took place on April 9, 1948, when around 120 fighters from the Zionist paramilitary groups Irgun and Lehi killed hundreds of Palestinian Arabs in Deir Yassin, a village of roughly 600 people near Jerusalem. The assault occurred as Jewish militia sought to relieve the blockade of Jerusalem during the civil war that preceded the end of British rule in Palestine.
Givat HaMivtar is an Israeli settlement and a neighborhood in East Jerusalem established in 1970 between Ramat Eshkol and French Hill. It is located on a hill where an important battle took place in the Six Day War. Archaeological excavations have revealed important ancient Jewish tombs in the region. Givat Hamivtar was one of the first "Build Your Own Home" neighborhoods in Jerusalem.
Isaac Leib Goldberg was a Zionist leader and philanthropist in both Ottoman Palestine and the Russian Empire. An early member of the Hovevei Zion movement (1882) he also founded the Ohavei Zion society. Goldberg was a delegate to the First Zionist Congress and the founder of two Hebrew newspapers, Ha'aretz and Ha'am.
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