Israel Releases Images Online: Why It Matters

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.

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.