The State Archives in the Prime Minister's Office has been working for the past two-and-a-half years on declassifying thousands of files that tell the story of the Yom Kippur War - on the borders, within Israel, and in the government. These documents were revealed Thursday morning.
For the first time it is possible to sense and investigate through the source documents the drama that unfolded and the feelings among the public, the army, and the leadership, in a comprehensive and direct manner. Some of the materials bring the events minute by minute and make it possible to reproduce the feelings of those who were present at the events.
The materials include thousands of papers, audio tapes and photographs, transcripts and source files from government ministries, military, political and civil documents, photos, sound clips, testimonies, reports, minutes of government and war cabinet meetings, discussions and assessments of the state of civil defense, the preparation of the home front during the war, and more.
These materials, most of which were confidential in the past, were examined, scanned, and declassified, and some of them were also approved by Israel's military censor. Now, for the first time, they are presented as an archival collection of information about the war, starting with the decision-making process under conditions of uncertainty by the leaders, the fighting on the various fronts, the Israeli home front, and the political contacts with the Arab countries (Egypt and Syria) through the mediation of the superpowers until reaching the ceasefire arrangements with Syria at the end of May 1974.
State archivist Ruthi Abramovich said, "The State Archives has been mobilized for the past two and a half years for a project to make the files and materials that tell the story of the Yom Kippur War accessible to the public. Unlike other archival publications, this time we chose to bring as much as possible 360 degrees of the story of the war, which affected all levels of life in Israel."
According to her, "The declassification work was done by many employees in the archive in most of its departments. This is the largest publication the State Archives has ever made, and the materials are offered to the general public in a division intended to help locate information in the most convenient way, despite the complexity of raw archival material."
"I invite the public to search the materials for personal information, to listen to the voice clips that have the power to bring us back in time, and to ask for answers to open questions that may still be painful to some," she added.