Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, was a visionary who not only played a crucial part in the creation of the Jewish state but also understood the importance of preserving Hebrew manuscripts. Declaring, “It is our first duty to save Hebrew literature,” he sent experts across the world to find and reproduce with permission Hebrew manuscripts that could not be physically brought to the Holy Land.   It is estimated that Ben-Gurion’s mission collected 90 percent of the

world’s Hebrew manuscripts, either in their original forms or on microfilm. These records have been held at the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem since the 1950’s. On August 6, at the opening of the World Congress of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion’s vision was launched into the modern era by way of a new website digitizing millions of images from dozens of collections for online use. The website, called Ktiv: The International Collection of Digitized Hebrew Manuscripts, has preserved for posterity some 90,000 Hebrew manuscripts and images from 40 countries dating back to the Middle Ages until today. READ MORE