Israel Releases Images Online: Why It Matters

February 7, 2012 16:07 by

Good news for Israel’s online activists: Israel’s releasing its national photo collection from copyright restrictions. It opens up some new graphic opportunities for anyone struggling to find the right royalty free image.

The LA Times writes:

Images of key figures, pivotal moments and just plain interesting photographs documenting Israel’s history will now be freely available for fair use, largely released from copyright. The recent announcement follows a years-long process of changing antiquated copyright laws and generally turning a corner into the Information Age.

Browsing the archives is something like opening a pack of baseball cards (you don’t know what you’ll find) and looking through a family photo album.

Two particular images struck me:

Acting P.M. Shimon Peres shaking hands with Egyptian Pres. Hosni Mubarak during the funeral service for slain P.M. Yitzhak Rabin.

Rabin’s funeral seems like both yesterday and a lifetime ago. As for Mubarak, we know a lot more about the fallen leader than we did then.  This was the only time he ever visited Israel and something about all that jarred me.

Which brings us to a more optimistic image.

An Arab holding his Jewish neighbour's son during the "Lag B'Omer" celebrations on Mount Meron in the Upper Galilee.

Images convey so much for better or for worse. With thousands of photos now in the public domain, I hope their availability raises the bar for Israeli public diplomacy.

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