Israel StoryProduced in partnership with ToI

Hello Operator

As younger and younger kids around the world demand – and get – their own phones, we harken back to a completely different telephonic reality.

Pharmacists at the Shor Tabachnik Pharmacy on Allenby Street in Tel Aviv, c. 1939. (Image: Shor Tabachnik Pharmacies)
Pharmacists at the Shor Tabachnik Pharmacy on Allenby Street in Tel Aviv, c. 1939. (Image: Shor Tabachnik Pharmacies)

On June 29, 2007, Apple released its first iPhone. Less than sixteen years later, our world is an entirely altered place.

As more and more facets of our daily lives have migrated to the powerful little computers in our pockets, it is increasingly difficult to function without a smartphone. In fact, you’re probably reading these very lines on a phone.

We are naturally split when it comes to the matter of the desirability of this phenomenon. Ask most middle-schoolers and you’ll hear that a phone represents the promise of freedom, independence, fun and opportunity. Ask many screen-dazed adults and you’ll hear a completely different story – that the phone is a devilish device that has taken over our lives and shattered our ability to interact with each other.

But whether you love them or hate them; whether you are addicted or indifferent; whether you are excited by each new model or are still rocking a flip-phone – there’s no doubt that we live in the Pax Telefonica.

So in today’s episode, Hello Operator, we tell stories of first phones, but – well – not quite the ones Steve Jobs has bequeathed the world.

About Israel Story: Israel Story is the award-winning podcast that tells extraordinary tales about ordinary Israelis. Often called “the Israeli ‘This American Life,’” we bring you quirky, unpredictable, interesting and moving stories about a place we all think we know a lot about, but really don’t. Produced in partnership with The Times of Israel.

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