Jewish Archives in Israel/Palestine

Please note: This is not an exhaustive list of all archives in Israel/Palestine. Notably, we have not included the archives of every single kibbutz or moshav (as most maintain a small archive).

Further reading and additional resources on archives in Israel include:

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The Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The Albert Einstein Archives at Hebrew University holds a large collection of original Einstein manuscripts. In conjunction with the Einstein Papers Project in Pasadena and Princeton University Press, they are publishing The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein and making materials available online. The archive holds the autograph copy of Einstein’s 1916 theory of general relativity, his Nobel prize medal, and other unique collections, totalling about 80,000 items which are catalogued both on a file level and also individually.

The Aviezer Yellin Archive of Jewish Education in Israel and the Diaspora (ארכיון לחינוך יהודי), Tel Aviv

The Archive of Jewish Education in Israel and the Diaspora was formed in the 1950s to document the emerging school system of the state of Israel, and also Jewish educational networks in the Diaspora. The archives records of the Union of Israeli Teachers, personal collections of teachers and educators, curricula, materials on physical education, textbooks, photographs, etc. It is located in the Central Library of Tel Aviv University.

Archive of the Habima Theater, Tel Aviv

The Habima Theater is one of the first Hebrew-language theaters, first founded in eastern Europe and then in mandate Palestine. The archives of the Habima Theater hold materials on plays from its establishment in 1918 to the present day. Holdings include 225,000 pages including booklets, posters, newspapers, playbills, photos, etc., and 1,000 hours of recordings. Visitors can scan images within fair use restrictions. Much of the material also has been digitized and is available online.

Archive of the Hebrew University, Jersalem

The Hebrew University archives are the administrative and historical archives of the university from its founding in 1924-25 to the present. The collection was initially formed in 1928. It serves as both a repository for day-to-day activities of the university, and a historical archive. It holds over 120,000 files, with collections relating to various departments, personal files of academic staff, meeting minutes of various boards and administrative councils, finances, etc. The archives are on the Mt. Scopus campus of Hebrew University.

Archive of the Religious Kibbutz Movement, Kibbutz Yavneh

Holds materials relating to the religious kibbutz movement from 1931 onwards, including files of numerous kibbutzim as well as individual archives. There is also a photograph and audiovisual archive.

Archive of Religious Zionism (גנזך הציונות הדתית), Jerusalem

The Archive of Religious Zionism was formed in 1954 within the Mossad Ha-Rav Kook (מוסד הרב קוק) in Jerusalem with the aim of documenting the religious Zionist movement, its leaders, and institutions.

Archive of the University of Tel Aviv

In 1970 the University of Tel Aviv formed its archive for day-to-day administrative purposes, and as a historical archive in 2000. It holds files relating to the administration of the university, departments, and notable faculty members.

The Ghetto Fighters’ House Archives (בית לוחמי הגטאות)

The Ghetto Fighters’ House kibbutz was formed in 1949, and in the 1950s residents formed a museum and archive to document the Holocaust, stored in the kibbutz’s permanent buildings. It contains materials on Jewish life between the two world wars, the Holocaust, and the experiences of Holocaust survivors. It holds a number of private collections, items from the Lodz ghetto, materials from displaced persons (DP) camps, photographs, an art collection, and more.

Ben-Zvi Institute (Yad Ben-Zvi), Jerusalem

The Yitzhak Ben-Zvi Institute in Jerusalem holds a number of important archival collections including a photograph collection and materials relating to North African Jewry during World War II.

Read more bout the Ben-Zvi Institute and its collections.

The Center for Research on Dutch Jewry at Hebrew University, Jerusalem

The Center for Research on Dutch Jewry was formed in 1968 by Jozeph Michman-Melkman, and joined the Hebrew University in 1972. It holds a large library as well as a wide range of archival materials, about 900 collections. The materials are not digitized, and the center charges for photocopies and scans.

The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, Jerusalem

Formed in 1939 by Josef Meisl as the Jewish Historical General Archives, since 1969 it has been the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People (CAHJP). It holds an important collection of materials from Jewish communities, organizations, and leading individuals from around the world. In the 1950s it began a project known as the “ingathering of the exiles of the past,” and gained many records through post-Holocaust restitution.

Read more about the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People.

The Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem

The Central Zionist Archives (CZA), formed in 1919 in Berlin and transferred to Jerusalem in 1933, is the central collecting point for historical materials on the history of the Zionist movement.

Read more bout the CZA.

David Ben-Gurion Archives at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Sede Boker

The Ben-Gurion Archive holds more than 5,000,000 items on the Zionist movement and Israel/Palestine from 1900 to 1973. It holds the personal papers of David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973), including his diaries, notes, minutes, memoranda, letters, photographs, newspaper clippings, and more. It also has the papers of Itshak Navon, Israel’s fifth president; and archives from the development towns of the Negev including Yeruham, Mitzpe Ramon, Hura, and Ofakim. There is also an extensive photo and audio-visual collection.

The Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Institute at Tel Aviv University

Contains materials relating to Jewish history throughout the Diaspora, approximately 40,000 files with 250,000 documents. It is cataloguing the files of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel; many of the finding aids are available online.

Since 2001, the Diaspora Research Institute has also held the archives of S. L. Schneiderman.

Haganah History Archives, Tel Aviv

The Haganah History Archive documents the Haganah military forces of the pre-state era. It was established in the late 1950s, and is managed by Israel’s ministry of defence. It holds 24,000 collections, about 7,500 testimonies, 24,000 photographs, 1,700 maps, and around 1,000 leaflets. It also holds materials relating to the Mandate police.

The Hayim Nachman Bialik Archives, Tel Aviv

Formed in 1939, the Hayim Nachman Bialik archives gather Bialik’s the manuscripts and papers. They are housed at Beit Bialik museum (Bialik House) in central Tel Aviv. It holds personal records, photographs, and manuscripts; some materials have been digitized.

Israel Folktales Archive (ארכיון הסיפור העממי בישראל), Haifa

Formed in 1955 by Prof. Dov Noi, it seeks to document folktales of various groups of Jews in Israel. Today it is housed at the University of Haifa. The archive houses almost 25,000 folktales from 70 countries and regions of origin.

Israel State Archives, Jerusalem

The Israel State Archives (ISA) is the main repository for the papers of the state of Israel and its many administrative bodies and ministries.

Read more about the Israel State Archives.

Jabotinsky Institute, Tel Aviv

The Jabotinsky Institute was formed in 1931 and collects historical materials relating to Ze’ev Jabotinsky (1880-1940) and Revisionist Zionism. Today, it holds 436 personal archives relating to Jabotinsky and his family, and archives relating to different branches of Revisionist Zionism and its organizations including the Union of Revisionist Zionists, the New ZIonist Organization, Betar, IZL, Herut, and Likud.

JDC Archive, Jerusalem

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has branches of its archives in both New York City and Jerusalem.

Jewish National Fund (JNF) Photo Archive, Jerusalem

Formed in 1904, the Jewish National Fund has been a crucial institution in the Zionist movement’s land purchase program for over a century. The JNF’s Photograph Archive was established in 1920, and holds about 180,000 prints and slides of the history of Israel/Palestine over the past century.

The Yonah Kirshenbaum Archive for the Study of Religious Zionism, at the Zerah Warhaftig Institute for Research on Religious Zionism at Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan

Contains important material on the development of religious ZIonism, including the Histadrut ha-mizrahi, B’nai Akiva, and more. It also holds archives of religious Zionist leaders. It holds 25 personal archives and 32 organizational collections.

Lavon Institute for Labour Research (המכון לחקור תנועת העבודה ע״ש פנחס לבון), Tel Aviv

The Lavon Institute for Labour Research preserves extensive materials on the labor movement in Israel/Palestine; it holds the archives of the Histadrut (federation of labor unions). Researchers can consult an extensive photograph collection, about 1,000,000 photographs total, of which 10% are digitized.

Leo Baeck Institute, Jerusalem

The Leo Baeck Institute’s main archives are in New York City; however, the LBI’s Jerusalem branch also has a notable library and archive. It holds the files of the LBI’s Jerusalem branch itself, as well as personal archives of notable German Jews including Martin Buber, Gershom Scholem, Siegfried Moses, and others. Files are being progressively digitized and uploaded to LBI New York’s DigiBaeck platform.

Memorial Museum of Magyar Speaking Jewry (המוזיאון למורשת היהדות הדוברת הונגרית), Safed

The museum documents Jews in areas of east-central Europe where Magyar has been spoken, including both present-day Hungary and other regions. It holds rabbinic sources on Hungarian Jewry as well as an artifact collection.

National Library of Israel, Archives and Manuscripts Department, Jerusalem

The National Library of Israel’s Archives and Manuscripts Department holds around 1,000 archive collections and other important historical resources.

Read more about the NLI’s Archives and Manuscripts Department.

Moshe Sharett Israel Labor Party Archive (ארכיון מפלגת העבודה ע”ש משה שרת), Beit Berl

Founded in 1930, the Worker’s Party of the Land of Israel (Mapai; since 1968, the Labor Party or Avodah in Hebrew) was the dominant political party until 1977. The Labor Party Archives were established in 1965 and holds historical and administrative documentation on the party and related organizations and political figures. Personal archives include files of Abba Eben, Chaim Herzog, Berl Katznelson, and others. Generally, files are closed for 30 years.

Palmach Archives, Tel Aviv

Archives of the Palmach military forces at the Palmach Museum in Tel Aviv. Materials include collections from Palmach members and their families. Also holds oral histories, films, songs, maps, and other documentation from Palmach members and their families. There is a photo archive with around 25,000 pictures, organized in 126 albums.

The Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem

The Spielberg Jewish Film Archive holds one of the largest collections of Jewish documentary films in the world, with over 18,000 titles from the 19th century to the present. It was founded in the 1960s by Hebrew University professor Moshe Davis, and directed by Geoffry Wigoder; greatly supported in its early years by Iranian-Jewish business leader Abraham F. Rad, the archive bore his name until 1987, when Steven Spielberg underwrote the archive. In 1973, the film archive became the official depository of films from the World Zionist Organization. A “virtual cinema” feature on their website allows for online access to over 600 films.

The Tuviyahu Archives of the Negev (ארכיון טוביהו) at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva

The archives of the settlement of the Negev were established at Ben-Gurion University by David Tuviyahu (1898-1975), who served as the first mayor of Beer Sheva from 1950-60. It holds institutional and private archives, a collection of about 13,000 photos, maps, newspapers, and more. The majority of the archive have been digitized (search must be in Hebrew).

Weizmann Archives, Rehovot

Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952) was Israel’s first president. The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot holds Weizmann’s files as well as his wife, Dr. Vera Weizmann, totalling more than 200,000 documents. It also has an extensive photo collection.

  • Visit the archives’ website
  • Contact: Hila Rachin, arcdlpk AT

Yad Tabenkin, Research and Documentation Center of the United Kibbutz Movement, Ramat Efal

Following the death of Yitzhak Tabenkin, it was decided to form an archive for the history of the kibbutz movement. It holds materials relating to the kibbutzim including cultural and political activities (including Palmach and Poale Zion-Left), economic development, youth movements, and more.

Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

Yad Vashem is the main Holocaust remembrance authority in Israel. In addition to its museum and exhibits, for which it is most well known, Yad Vashem also holds important archives on the history of the Holocaust as well as Holocaust testimonies and other research materials.

Read more about the Yad Vashem archives.

Yad Yaari, Center for Documentation and Research of Ha-shomer ha-tsair, Givat Haviva

Yad Ya’ari holds collections of the Ha-shomer ha-tsair youth movement, Mapam (the Israeli Communist party), Meretz, Peace Now (שלום עכשיו), personal archives, oral histories, audiovisual collections, and more.