A little more than seven years after we launched The Times of Israel, today, in a sense, we are bringing it “home.”
Our goal when we started, back in February 2012, was to provide an independent, fast and accurate source of news, analysis and opinion about Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world — for English-speakers. Many of our readers, we knew, would come from among the hundreds of thousands of Israelis for whom English is a mother tongue or a strong second. But most of our readers, we believed, would be people living abroad who care deeply about what is happening in Israel, the region and the Diaspora, and who we hoped would relish the coverage that our Jerusalem-based writers and editors would provide.
And so it has proved. In that relatively short space of time, we’ve become a news site relied upon by millions — an average of well over four million monthly users, in fact, all over the world, together reading about 25 million of our pages every month. Naturally, the overwhelming proportion of that readership is overseas — more than 50% in North America — with about a sixth of the readership inside Israel.
I believed (and most certainly still do) that this staggeringly vibrant, insistently flourishing, endlessly challenged, and hugely contested little country of ours needed a news source that would try to keep everybody, everywhere informed, 24/7. A site that would strive to be fair and nonpartisan in its reporting, and offer a wide diversity of advocacy and insight on the pages of its trailblazing blog platform. That was the thinking behind The Times of Israel: a current affairs window on Israel, with the glass as transparent as we could keep it. Evidently, millions of people — you, our readers — agree.
As the site has grown, we’ve expanded to other languages — French, Arabic and Persian — with that same key goal of bringing an honest narrative to readers who want to know about Israel, its people and surroundings, but do not necessarily speak its main language.
Now, today, we are delighted to introduce Zman Yisrael — The Times of Israel’s current affairs website in Hebrew — covering Israel in the language of our country, keeping Israel informed, fair-mindedly, about what happens here. Like I said, bringing our work home.
Israel doesn’t lack for Hebrew news coverage. Breaking news appears within seconds on innumerable sites. Every sector of our political and religious spectrum, every special interest group, is pumping out content on every conceivable platform. There’s a great deal of excellent journalism. The breadth of coverage is wide. Where we aim to contribute is with depth, determination and original thinking.
As The Times of Israel has grown over the years, we’ve gradually added more reporters to our team, and come to realize that for all the foreign coverage, so often centered on the Palestinian conflict, and for all the Hebrew-language journalism, so often chasing headlines, a great deal of what is playing out here is under-reported and under-internalized. It is The Times of Israel, working in English, that has provided some of the most important coverage of Israel’s astoundingly innovative tech economy; devoted reporting resources for years to the complexities of Israel-Diaspora ties; documented internet meddling and fakery afflicting Israel; published some of the most thoroughly researched reporting on the substance of the corruption allegations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; sent reporters up and down the country to meet the diverse Israeli electorate and thereby give readers substantive insights in the run-up to the recent elections; and exposed and ultimately secured the outlawing of a multi-billion dollar fraudulent industry known as binary options that had thrived for a decade, cheating victims worldwide.
Our new Zman Yisrael team of journalists, like their Times of Israel colleagues, are Israelis who live in this country, care passionately for this country, and do not take this country for granted. For Israel to survive and to thrive, it needs to meet the challenges it faces from the outside — to build relationships and bolster alliances, to protect itself and face down its enemies. And it needs to flourish within — honoring its twin responsibilities as both Jewish state and democracy. The years ahead are going to be fraught in both of those fields. Clear-headed journalism, reliable, independent journalism, journalism that delves deep, is going to be essential. Zman Yisrael intends to provide it.
With this imperative uppermost in our minds, Zman Yisrael will focus on well-researched, balanced and accurate coverage of politics, policy, economics and the rule of law. We will dedicate resources to investigative reporting. We will do our best to get our readers the facts.
Over recent months, we have assembled a team at Zman Yisrael that includes some of Hebrew journalism’s finest reporters and editors, under the editorship of Biranit Goren, a veteran journalist with whom I have worked for many years. Their most resonant work will also appear, translated into English, in The Times of Israel — making our site better still; likewise for our French, Arabic and Persian sites. Similarly, the most resonant of ToI’s English journalism, translated into Hebrew, will boost Zman Yisrael.
As with The Times of Israel, we’ve partnered with RGB media to build a website for Zman Yisrael that is fresh and comfortable in its design, and that utilizes cutting edge internet features to ensure that reading us is a pleasure.
The success of The Times of Israel these past seven years has confirmed that millions of people, reading left to right, value our efforts to illuminate the endlessly fascinating, evolving story of the Jewish nation and its place in the world. Now we’re adding right to left. Welcome to our Hebrew-speaking sibling, Zman Yisrael.