Contact: Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress (202) 707-9217; Craig Goldstein, Embassy of Israel (202) 364-5549

January 12, 1997

Library of Congress To Receive Films from Embassy of Israel

Seventy Israeli documentary films on videocassette will be presented on March 4 at 3 p.m. to the Library of Congress by Ambassador Eliahu Ben-Elissar on behalf of the Embassy of Israel. Among the films is the "Wonder of Israel," which has won a number of awards: the CINE Golden Eagle, the Telly Award, a silver medal at the New York World Festival and a bronze medal from the National Education Media Network. The group of films cover a variety of subjects, including archaeology, culture and society, geography, history, international cooperation, Jerusalem, the Holocaust, immigration, the Israel Defense Forces, the Arab-Israeli conflict, nature, religion, science, technology and agriculture.

"The Library greatly appreciates the Embassy of Israel's cooperation and generosity in making these items available to us," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "These important films will fill a gap in the Library's collections documenting Israeli culture and related issues."

Ambassador Ben-Elissar said, "The Embassy of Israel is donating these films to enable the American people to get a taste of Israel's multidimensional society. We hope that this collection will entice Americans to visit Israel to see for themselves what is so well-portrayed in these 70 films. The Embassy of Israel and the Library of Congress will continue to work together in the future to make as many resources as possible available to the American people."

These films are being provided under the terms of a Feb. 19, 1950, agreement between the governments of the United States and Israel (Treaties and Other International Acts Series 2169), in which the official publications of Israeli government agencies are made available to the Library of Congress. The agreement calls for exchange of all official publications between the Library of Congress, as a recipient of the official publications of the government of Israel, and the State Archives in Jerusalem, as the recipient of the U.S. government documents.

Traditionally, only paper copies of documents were exchanged. In the early 1980s materials for the international exchange program were made available on microfiche by the U.S. Government Printing Office. With the advances in modern technology, alternative formats such as CD-ROMs, videos and cassettes are now available via exchange from government and non-governmental sources in Israel.

Until now, the holdings of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division have not included many of the more interesting films and videocassettes from Israel, although the Order Division has purchased copies of videocassettes for the Library when funds were available.

In addition to its collection of American material, the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division (MBRS) has many first-rate collections from other countries.

Most of the material from Israel, acquired by the Library for MBRS, has been received on an exchange basis from several partners, such as smaller research organizations with limited budgets that produce material mostly in the area of ethnic Jewish music and film. The Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center in Or Yehudah has provided videos on Iraqi Jewry such as "Jewish Wedding in Baghdad." The Ministry of Education sent the Library two films on the Druze community in Israel: "The Druze" and "Son of Abraham." The Library has also received films from the Israeli Police on "Combatting Terrorism -- The Israeli Experience." Renanot (Institute for Jewish Music) and Bet Hatefutsot (Museum of the Jewish Diaspora) are among the exchange partners providing the Library with sound recordings of the music of various Jewish communities worldwide.

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PR 97-4
1/12/97
ISSN 0731-3527

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