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October 6, 2020 11:24 am

On 47th Anniversary of Yom Kippur War Outbreak, IDF Releases Newly-Digitized Color Footage of Conflict

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

IDF soldiers at the Suez Canal during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Photo: Israeli Ministry of Defense.

The Israel Defense Forces’ Archives released a series of digitized color videos of the Yom Kippur War on Tuesday to mark the 47th anniversary of the outbreak of the conflict.

Israel lost nearly 3,000 soldiers during the weeks-long conflict in October 1973, which began with an Egyptian-Syrian surprise attack on the Jewish state’s northern and southern borders. Although Israel ultimately repelled the invasions, the cost was devastating to the young country and the war remains seared in the nation’s collective memory.

Israeli news site Walla reported that most of the newly-released images had not been seen by the public before, and color footage of the war is generally rare, with most of the available video shot in black and white.

The IDF Archives digitized the footage, culled from 150,000 hours of audio and video materials, and upgraded the image quality as much as possible. The digital format also allows for the preservation of the materials for posterity.

The footage includes images of the fighting along the Suez Canal and in the Sinai Peninsula, Air Force maneuvers and parachute operations. Almost all the footage was shot by members of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

It also shows visits by the IDF chief of staff and other generals to the southern front, and even a performance to soldiers by famed Fiddler on the Roof actor Haim Topol.

The Archives’ manager, Ilana Alon, called the images “treasures” and said the digitization process had been ongoing for a decade already.

While much of the footage had been transferred to video, the original film elements were carefully preserved, as archivists knew that video technology would improve in the future.

“There is a huge difference in quality when the process of digitization is done directly from the original film,” Alon noted.

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