Visitors to Israel National Library’s Arabic Site More Than Doubled in 2021
The Arabic website of Israel’s National Library has experienced an unprecedented boom over the past year, with the number of users more than doubling, said library spokesman Zachary Rothbart. The library reported around 650,000 users on its Arabic site in 2021, mainly from the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Algeria. The library includes an extensive Islam and Middle East Collection, including an Arabic newspaper archive that boasts more than 200,000 pages from Ottoman and British Mandate Palestine, and thousands of rare books and manuscripts in Arabic, Persian and Turkish ranging from the ninth to the 20th centuries. “We have been working on outreach to the Arab world, into the Arabic speaking public here in Israel for over a decade, and we have slowly built up a rich set of resources on our websites,” said Raquel Ukeles, head of the library’s collections. They include the digital newspaper archives, manuscripts, posters, electronic books and music, she said. The library is digitizing its entire collection and “95% of it has already been completed,” said Samuel Thrope, Islam and Middle East Collection curator.