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Israel Story

Israel Story

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Israel Story is an award-winning podcast that tells true stories you won't hear on the news. Hosted by Mishy Harman, the bi-weekly show brings you extraordinary tales about ordinary Israelis. The show is produced in partnership with The Jerusalem Foundation. For Hebrew episodes, see סיפור ישראלי, or go to our website: israelstory.org Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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We have some truly exciting news: For the first time in almost a decade, we're launching a new podcast. Look for Sipur Yerushalmi wherever you get your podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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Some 350,000 Israelis have been called up to reserve duty since the start of the war, in what has been the largest mobilization in the country’s history. These are people who were plucked out of their homes, families and daily lives, and inserted into a totally different world, one which is in most cases - just to add to the confusion - a mere car …
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Today's "Wartime Diary" takes us to a place that is, under normal circumstances, one of the most visited sites in the entire country - Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo, or as it's officially known, 'The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens.' Since the start of the war, the city of Jerusalem has welcomed more than 30,000 evacuees from both the North and the Sout…
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The war has been going on for over three months, and many of us have settled into some sort of altered routine, a "new normal." But there are hundreds of thousands of people, possibly millions, for whom nothing is normal. Hugo (Uri) Wolaj of Kibbutz Be’eri is one of them: everything about his life - his job, his friends, his family, his parenting s…
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Today is the hundredth day of the war. And, though our Wartime Diaries series continues, we want to stop, mark this day and share 100 seconds of the many voices we’ve been hearing among - and around - us, since October 7th. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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Upwards of $1 billion in donations have been sent to Israel since the start of the war. For years Charlene Seidle, the Executive Vice President of the San Diego-based Leichtag Foundation, has been at the forefront of the Jewish philanthropic world. While the Leichtag Foundation supports various causes in the States and in Israel, their main local f…
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The war has brought many new people into the limelight: For nearly three months we've been hearing countless stories of casualties, hostages, survivors and family members, many of whom have entered our hearts and never left. In some cases we feel like we’ve gotten to know these unsung heroes personally. One of the first big stories of the war, in t…
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It’s a sad Christmas Eve in Jesus’ homeland. The alleyways of Jerusalem’s Old City, the streets of Nazareth, the churches of Bethlehem - all usually bustling with countless pilgrims and tourists from all over the world - are largely empty. There are no trees, no stars, no sparkling lights. Christmas has essentially been canceled, and not just as a …
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More than 200,000 Israelis - from both the South and the North - have been forced to leave their homes since the start of the war. Some have relocated to hotels or kibbutzim, others have opted to move in with family or friends, or else even rent apartments in entirely new surroundings. In today's episode we get a glimpse of what that reality feels …
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Stories are the strongest way to connect. To understand. To care. Under normal circumstances we’d create some sort of polished appeal, but obviously these are not normal circumstances. If what we do has been helpful, or you think it is important, please support us and share our show with friends and family. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.…
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Since the start of the military operation in Gaza, countless reports by journalists embedded with the IDF troops have appeared in the Israeli media. But there was one eight-and-a-half minute-long TV broadcast that aired on Kan - the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation - that stood out. In it, Riyad Ali, a 61-year-old Druze journalist from the t…
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As has been said many times in the past, identity is like an onion: There are layers of family and country, religion and political persuasions, favorite sports teams, musical preferences and on and on. But for many, such as 23-year-old Adam Ben Shabath, it is their hometown which stands at the center of it all. And now, as a result of the war, Adam…
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As of today, more than 400 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the war. Each one of those deaths, of course, not only marks the end of a life, but also shatters a family, a community, a tribe. And that ripple effect, that communal grieving, was palpable following the death of reservist Yossi Heshkovitz, the 44-year-old Principal of the Religious Z…
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Many of you have probably heard, or read about, Rachel Goldberg and Jon Polin, the parents of 23-year-old Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who was kidnapped from the Nova Party. In many ways they’ve emerged as the face of the hostage families - they’ve met with Biden and the Pope, they were on the cover of Time Magazine, Rachel has spoken at the UN and at the…
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Last week, our host Mishy Harman was interviewed by Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove for the Park Avenue Synagogue Podcast. And as this is, in a way, Mishy's wartime diary, we decided to share it with our listeners too. Today is Giving Tuesday, and we really need your support. As you probably know, almost as soon as the war began, we pivoted our entire operat…
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This war is a humbling experience for us all. People — no matter who they are or what they normally do — are simply trying to pitch in wherever they can. We’ve thus seen ex-generals jump into their private cars and go save civilians from the carnage of October 7th, former ministers and senior politicians volunteer to pick cherry tomatoes on farms n…
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Almost immediately after the start of the attack of October 7th, as rockets were being launched at Jerusalem, and sirens sent the city’s one million residents into shelters, the heads of the Israel Museum initiated an emergency protocol for the first time since the Gulf War in 1991. The idea was to protect the nation’s most priceless cultural and h…
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In the summer of 2005, the government of Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. The roughly 8,000 residents of the 21 Jewish settlements within the Gaza Strip were forced to leave their homes and their communities, which – for decades – they had actually been encouraged and incentivized to inhabit. The move brought the country to the brink of a ci…
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53-year-old Hai Ashkenazi from Tel Aviv is an archeologist, but never imagined he would find himself excavating a 21st-century Kibbutz. Yet in the insane reality that has become our life since October 7th, archeologists too are part of the war effort, and the term “destruction layer” has accrued a contemporary and chilling meaning. The end song is …
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Normally Chavat Ronit – or Ronit Farm – is a high-end event venue north of Herzliya. Ra’anan Arizon’s seventy dunams are full of quaffed lawns, picturesque trees, instagramable gazebos, a gorgeous pond and a lot of peaceful nature. All of that makes the farm an idyllic setting for upscale weddings and parties. Now, however, it has been converted in…
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Chaya Gilboa is a Talmud teacher, an activist, a flaming redhead, and was – for the last three years – the CEO of the Jerusalem Philanthropic Initiatives, which works with local civil society. On October 11th, Chaya turned 40, but instead of any kind of celebration, she was leading a team at the Jerusalem Chamal – the epicenter of the city’s volunt…
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Over the last five weeks we’ve spoken to many families of hostages. That’s how we met Faiz Abu Sabehan, whose 53-year-old brother-in-law, Farhan al-Qadi – a father of eleven – has been kidnapped into Gaza. Faiz is a Bedouin politician, and has twice served as mayor of Rahat, the largest Arab city in Israel. He’s also an educator – a teacher, a prin…
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Mishka Ben-David might seem – at first – like a harmless and cuddly grandpa, but the truth is that he’s lived many secret lives. He has somehow managed to seamlessly transition from community organizing to academia to horse breeding to an illustrious career as a senior Mossad agent. Today, however, he spends most of his time writing. Over the years…
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77-year-old Agi Mishol is one of Israel’s most prominent, beloved and widely-read poets. Over the years she’s won practically every literary prize here, and Amos Oz once said that her poems “know how to tell a tale, to sing a song and also dance.” Her poetry is colorful and playful, full of nature and a love of the land. And that makes sense since …
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Today we’ll hear from Sahar Vardi, a Jewish-Israeli peace activist who lost a dear friend, Khalil Abu Yahia, in Gaza. The end song is Tamaly Maak (“I Am With You”) by Tzachi Halevy. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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Among the thousands of people who had the terrible misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time on October 7th, there were also – as we now all know – many foreigners. People who had little, or no, connection to the long history of violence between Jews and Arabs, Israel and Hamas. Among them were Filipino caregivers, Thai agricultural …
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The nature of the attacks on October 7th, together with certain subsequent reactions around the world, have blurred the lines between Jews in Israel and Jews in the diaspora. Last week, the UJA Federation of New York brought over a delegation of 28 Jewish leaders – mainly rabbis and educators – on a jam-packed 48-hour-long whirlwind of a trip to Is…
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There’s a lot of Holocaust rhetoric in the air. ‘Never Again’ slogans have resurfaced, Netanyahu has said – on several occasions – that Hamas militants are worse than the Nazis, and just this week the Israeli delegation to the UN wore yellow stars at the Security Council. All of this is, of course, controversial, and many people – including many Ho…
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45-year-old Ido Rosenthal from Moshav Ben Shemen served in an elite commando unit and was killed on the first day of the war. His wife, Noga, a sociology doctoral student at Ben Gurion University, has since been sharing her feelings on Facebook. She gave us permission to translate and record one of her posts. The end song is Rikma Enoshit (“Human T…
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The war caught everyone by surprise, of course, and since it broke out at the tail end of the chagim, many Israelis were abroad. What do you do in that case? Do you rush home? Do you continue your trip? Do you wait it out somewhere safe and far away? As it happens, on October 7th, our producer Mitch Ginsburg was hiking across the Scottish Highlands…
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Many people sprung into action since October 7th. And yet, at the very same time, many Israelis feel… lost. Not everyone knows what to do, nor does everyone feel useful, capable or relevant. And that feeling resonates with Alon Shalev from Zur Hadassah. The end song is Avot U’Banim (“Fathers and Sons”) by Eviatar Banai. Hosted on Acast. See acast.c…
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During normal times Tomer Oshri – a 48-year-old history teacher from Jerusalem – works at JDC-Israel and runs an educational non-profit. Nowadays, however, he’s the man in charge of building and operating 17 different makeshift schools for survivors and displaced residents of the communities around the Gaza Border. The end song is Kol Od (“As Long …
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Even today, nearly three weeks after the devastating attacks of October 7th, there are still hundreds of people who are considered “missing,” which means that they haven’t been confirmed dead, but – at the same time – there’s no definitive proof that they’ve been kidnapped into Gaza. One of those missing is Tamar Gutman, who was at the Nova Party i…
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Israel has, of course, branded itself as the Start-Up Nation. And in many ways, Raz Newman is the classic Israeli tech entrepreneur. He’s 32, lives in Rishon Le’Zion, has two daughters, and spends most of his time researching AI and meeting with potential angel investors. On October 7th, as people began thinking how to best contribute, Raz immediat…
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For months Sivan Avnery – a physical therapist from Kfar Shmaryahu – was active in the demonstrations against the judicial reforms. Like hundreds of thousands of other Israelis, he felt he was fighting for his home, for the very nature of his country. But he had no idea how true that was about to become. On Saturday morning, October 7, Sivan receiv…
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There’s a long tradition of musicians and entertainers performing on the frontlines during times of war. And, indeed, almost immediately, Israel’s leading artists began crisscrossing the country in a joint effort to lift morale. For David Broza, this kind of work isn’t, unfortunately, new. He’s been performing for troops since the mid-seventies, an…
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Wars are often told through numbers – of the dead, the wounded, the missing, the misplaced. But behind each one of those numbers, there is – of course – a person, a family, a community whose life has been altered forever. For two weeks now we’ve been hearing survival stories, the likes of which we never imagined we’d hear again, at least not on thi…
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This war has forced many people to reevaluate their identities and political sensibilities—not an easy task during these shocking and painful days. Mor Maisel’s opinions are complicated and don’t conform to the norm, which may be challenging for some listeners, and reassuring for others. The end song is Anachnu Me’oto Hakfar (“We Are From The Same …
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During this dark time, Israeli civil society has risen to the occasion. Hedai Offaim – a chef, farmer and social entrepreneur – has transformed his café into a relief kitchen where 750 volunteers prepare more than 10,000 nutritious meals a day for evacuated communities, families in mourning, families of hostages and reservists. Donors from Israel c…
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After the entire team of Kibbutz Kissufim’s dairy farm was murdered, Ofer Tamir from Nahalal rushed down south to rescue the local cows. The end song is Kissufim by Etti Ankri. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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In 1956, Moshe Dayan – then the IDF’s Chief of Staff – delivered a eulogy for a fallen member of Kibbutz Nahal Oz. That eulogy had a tremendous impact on Israeli society and is just as poignant today as it was sixty-seven years ago. The end song is Shir Eres Negbi (“A Southern Lullaby”) performed by Shoshana Damari. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/p…
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Despite everything, life continues amid the horror. For Katherine Leff, this meant going ahead with the day she’d been dreaming about for so long — her wedding day. The end song is Od Yishma (“Again It Will Be Heard”) by Ishay Ribo. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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This episode includes graphic descriptions of violence. At age 50, Itai Kramer is no longer obligated to serve in the reserve forces, yet he volunteered anyway. Itai tells us about what went through his mind when he decided to drop everything and put on his uniform. The end song is Machar Ani Babayit (“Tomorrow I’ll Be Home”) by Ethnix. Hosted on A…
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Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been called up to reserve duty. But what about the families they leave behind? Episode artwork courtesy of Noa Kelner. The end song is Ima (“Mother”) by Yehuda Levi and Ninet Tayeb. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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Everything in this corner of the world has changed since Saturday, October 7. All around us, friends, family, colleagues, people have died. People are missing. People have been kidnapped. There’s a lot of uncertainty and we’re all involved in dozens of initiatives but we’re also going to bring you some voices and testimonies that try to paint a pic…
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It’s been fifty years since the Yom Kippur War. And as such, we want to share our Tell Saki project, which first came out in 2021. Over the course of two episodes, we go back to the horrors of the war, and specifically to one small hill in the Southern Golan Heights where - over the course of thirty-six hours - a group of young IDF soldiers went to…
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It’s been fifty years since the Yom Kippur War. And as such, we want to share our Tell Saki project, which first came out in 2021. Over the course of two episodes, we go back to the horrors of the war, and specifically to one small hill in the Southern Golan Heights where - over the course of thirty-six hours - a group of young IDF soldiers went to…
  continue reading
 
In part two of “A Life After Death,” Gal describes the days and months following Noah’s death - the funeral, the grief and the hope of creating a new life. Stay connected with us on Facebook, the platform formally known as Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, and by signing up for our newsletter at israelstory.org/newsletter/. For more, head to our site or…
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On a warm winter day in February 2018, Gal Zaychner’s worst nightmare came true: Her 11-month-old son, Noah, didn’t wake up from his nap time. Our episode tells the tragic story of a victim of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Please take that into account when deciding whether to continue listening. Stay connected with us on Facebook, the platf…
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Our series continues with Meir Argov (Grabovsky), a World War II veteran and a Petach Tikvah-based labor organizer who loved chazanut, or cantorial music, and was Israel’s first - and longest serving - chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and by signing up for our n…
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