The Times of Israel was launched over 10 years ago at around the same time as Israel Story, one of the country’s most popular podcasts, created by four friends.
Now the two media organizations are joining forces: The award-winning Israel Story podcast, the most listened-to in its genre, will now be hosted on The Times of Israel, featured alongside the ToI podcasts. This will commence next month with the upcoming seventh season of Israel Story.
It’s a partnership that makes a lot of sense, said Times of Israel founding editor David Horovitz.
“The Israel Story team tells stories that go to the heart of Israeli life in all of its diversity,” said Horovitz. “They’ve built a deserved reputation for carefully researched, beautifully produced, high-quality podcasts that capture fascinating aspects of Israel. They’re covering an Israel that is essential, and for us to be able to showcase that on our platform widens the territory we’re able to cover.”
The way Horovitz and his Times of Israel staff think about “telling the story of this place is very similar to the way we think about it,” said Israel Story founding editor Mishy Harman.
“The Times of Israel knows how to nuance matters and trust readers that they can handle complex situations, which is what this place is all about.”
It was Harman who first conceived of Israel Story, based on his deep love for “This American Life,” the renowned NPR radio show that tells stories about America and its people.
At the time, Harman was 29, and his co-founder and friend, Ro’ee Gilron, had spent hours listening to NPR’s “This American Life” together during a lengthy road trip.
When they made their way back to Israel, they reconnected with mutual friends Yochai Maital and Shai Satran — and Harman began pondering the concept of creating the Israeli equivalent of “This American Life.”
That was a decade ago. Now “Israel Story” is an award-winning podcast telling the stories of Israeli life — mostly in English, although it was begun in Hebrew — from its fairly new home in the Jerusalem Foundation offices, where the partners also have a state-of-the-art studio that they opened in September.
Israel Story has partnered with other media outlets in the past, including six seasons with Tablet Magazine.
It was during the pandemic that Harman began looking around for office space, “as everyone was working remotely and after ten years of working in coffee shops and libraries it was time to settle down,” he said.
The podcast is currently a diverse team of Jerusalemites, and besides producing its own shows, Israel Story also runs training stations for other organizations, is planning a Palestinian podcast, and is designing a storytelling app for Jerusalem that will be able to record stories, much like recording WhatsApp messages.
“We’re looking forward to being in the same orbit with David [Horovitz] and the [Times of Israel] reporters,” said Harman. “We’re both Jerusalem organizations; I think this is going to be a real win-win.”
Hear a classic episode of Israel Story — Love Syndrome: