Will Israel's New Archive Policy Set Back a Generation of Scholarship? CHE asks Benny MorrisHistorians in the News
Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended the classification of certain national-security related state archives for an additional 20 years....
For more on the potential implications of Netanyahu's decision, I turned to Benny Morris, a professor of history at Ben Gurion University of the Negev....
Q: What do you make of the decision to keep security-related documents classified?
A: Every closure of documents, every extension of periods of classification, is against the spirit of an open society. But Israel does live in a particularly difficult environment—and is at war with its surroundings, so more than most societies, there is justification for a tight archival policy. But the truth is that Israel's archives remain among the most open in the world—far more open than Britain's and France's, and, in some respects, the United State's (for example, the Israeli Cabinet maintains verbatim transcripts of its meetings, and opens them—97 % of the material—to public scrutiny after 40 years. The US doesn't)....
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