Newspapers and journals from the past constitute one of the more clear-sighted vantage points for acquainting ourselves with bygone eras. These sources enable us to learn about historic events, track processes as they emerged, encounter figures and read the fruit of their labor. Moreover, they call attention to surprising information and allow us to experience the past from a wide range of angles, such as daily news items, the economy, culture, ideological views, and more. As a result, periodicals are an important resource for scholars as well as a portal for anyone wishing to access history through the words of its contemporaries.
The National Library of Israel holds an invaluable collection of Arabic periodicals that were published in the Land of Israel\ Palestine between 1908 and 1948. Among the titles are daily newspapers with an emphasis on current events; satirical magazines; and social, educational, and cultural journals, which were published on a more-or-less regular basis (weeklies, bi-weeklies, monthlies, etc.). Some of the publishers were government bodies or public institutions, while others were private initiatives. A few of the newspapers operated throughout most of or during the entire period under review. The majority had smaller runs, with some longer than others.
The Arabic newspaper made its debut in Palestine towards the end of the nineteenth century. By 1948, approximately 250 titles had been published. About half of these periodicals, either fully or partially, can be found in the NLI's illuminating collection, the likes of which one would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Given the ravages of time, we are digitizing these items and transforming the corpus into a searchable user-friendly database — all to improve the periodicals' accessibility to the general public. During the pilot phase of the project, we followed the recommendation of our academic steering committee and scanned the two "bookends" of the chronological period: 1908 to 1920; and 1945 to 1948. In the next phase, we plan to digitize material that came out between these two ends (i.e., 1921-1944), in order to provide a continuous archive of the period.
Going forward, we are seeking partners — both institutions and private collectors — to contribute new titles to the digital collection and to fill in gaps in the featured titles. If you are interested and able to contribute material, please contact us!
—Raquel Ukeles, PhD, Curator of the Islam and Middle East Collection
Jrayed's academic advisory committee provides guidance on selecting the digitized titles and contributes to the website's content.
Professor Ami Ayalon, Tel Aviv UniversityDr. Nabih BashirProfessor Hillel Cohen, The Hebrew University of JerusalemDr. Yoni Furas, Haifa UniversityDr. Abigail Jacobson, The Hebrew University of JerusalemProfessor Mustafa Kabha, The Open University of IsraelDr. Merav Mack, The Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, The Hebrew University of JerusalemDr. Yonatan Mendel, Ben Gurion University of the NegevProfessor Mahmoud Yazbak, Haifa University