Israel’s outgoing chief archivist has warned that “most of the contents of the state archives is closed and will never be opened”, reports Haaretz, adding that historical war crimes are being concealed under the guise of ‘national security’ concerns.
In a report issued Monday, Yaakov Lazovik summarized the issues faced by the Israel State Archives, which is subordinate to the Prime Minister’s Office, the paper reported.
Announcing his retirement, Lazovik “said that most of the material in the archives will never see the light of day, and the remainder will be opened under unreasonable restrictions, without transparency or public oversight”.
In particular, “he claimed that under the cloak of national security concerns, the state conceals from the public material, much of it unrelated to security issues. This includes material that could prove embarrassing to the state, such as human rights violations or that do not add to the states honour”.
The outgoing chief archivist said that “Israelis have committed war crimes”, and also noted how “the Shin Bet security service was involved in education in the Arab sector”, and “Israel treated its Arab (and other) citizens in a manner that doesn’t dignify a democratic state”.
According to Lazovik, “if Israel commits acts that a court here or abroad would reject, Israeli citizens should know about this and decide whether they agree with them”.
Haaretz noted that “Lazovik proposed examining the involvement of the military censor in the archives operation. One can understand the need for censorship in our circumstances, but letting censors decide on non-operational matters is unprecedented in the democratic world”.