The technical challenges involved in building The Times of Israel Français were certainly less daunting than building the Arabic site, with its whole new alphabet moving in a whole new direction. But the editorial challenge of constructing a popular, relevant, resonant news site that conveys all the complexities of this country, the Middle East and the Jewish world are no less significant in either language. Fortunately, we were lucky enough to find a smart, energetic and dedicated French editor in Stephanie Bitan, who has made aliya in order to oversee it.
We are proud of what we’ve built here at The Times of Israel — a news site whose content is free and fair-minded, a site staffed and updated 24/7, with a team of exceptionally skilled and hardworking reporters and feature writers and editors, and thousands of readers utilizing our open blog platform. So we are thrilled to be bringing the fruits of these efforts to new audiences, first the Arab world and now the vibrant community of French speakers — in France (the world’s third-largest Jewish community), in Israel and around the world. Like The Times of Israel Arabic, our new French site relies on the best of our English content at its core, supplemented by original material, and with the blog platform again open to anyone and everyone with something of value to say.
We invite you to be our ambassadors for the French site, spreading the word to French-speaking friends and colleagues, letting them know there is a rich new source for news, features and opinion in French. We also invite French writers to use our journalistic blog platform and spread their word. And sign up, of course, to A La Une — our free newsletter sent to your inbox with all our top Times of Israel Français stories.
The immense impact we’ve achieved in English in just two years is entirely down to you — you’ve discovered the site, connected to it, and told your friends about it. We’ve watched as awareness of our work has spread — seeing traffic rise in Israel, and gradually grow month by month by month in North America and the UK, Australia, South Africa and far beyond. We realized there was an interest in an Arabic version of the site because we saw — via the magic of Google Analytics — that people were reading our English-language reports and features throughout the Arab world, and figured there’d be plenty more people who’d read those pages in Arabic. The French edition is launching with the same promise: we already know there’s an audience because, even in English, we’ve seen a remarkable growth in readership in France.
It’s pure coincidence that these new Arabic and French versions of The Times of Israel both launched in the month of our second birthday — simply a function of how long it took to design and build and staff each site. I’m not saying there won’t be more surprises, but I think it’s safe to say we have our hands full for the remainder of February.
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