Who Are We?

Israel Story's mission is to promote a deeper understanding of - and connection to - Israel, through non-political, human-interest storytelling.

Who Are We?

Our Goals Are To…

  • Use the power of storytelling to expand the circle of those engaged with Israel
  • Promote greater awareness of, and interest in, the complexities of modern Israeli society
  • Combat stereotypes by showcasing the country’s rich human tapestry and telling the story of a diverse, more nuanced, Israel

Our Story

Israel Story, or ‘Sipur Israeli,’ was born as a late-night project in 2011 at the hands of childhood friends Mishy Harman, Yochai Maital, Shai Satran, and Ro’ee Gilron. Our hope was to step outside of our social bubbles and explore the diversity of our own country. We had no relevant experience but nevertheless dreamed of creating a small podcast, meant primarily for friends and family. Our first episode initially had eleven downloads. Yet what followed exceeded our wildest dreams: Within a few months, our show was picked up by Galey Tzahal and soon offered a prime time slot on national radio. Suddenly reaching hundreds of thousands of listeners, we were inundated by messages saying that Israel Story offered a unique way of encountering the rich human tapestry of the country.

In 2014, we decided to add a new facet to our operation, and – in addition to the Hebrew show – started producing episodes in English, in partnership with Tablet Magazine. Then, in 2021, we began partnering with The Jerusalem Foundation as well. We figured that the Israel people loved, as well as the Israel people hated, was – largely speaking – an imaginary place. We, on the other hand, wished to tell stories of the ‘real’ Israel; to showcase a different, more nuanced, and more diverse, Israel. We do not, therefore, focus on politics, the BDS movement or governmental propaganda. Instead, we collect stories that celebrate the plurality of local communities and traditions, and try to present a cross-section of ‘Israeliness.’ We have come to think of our microphones as magic wands that allow us to enter homes and communities that are often sidelined and silenced in the mainstream media.

Israelis are a nation of storytellers. And our job is to amplify voices and shine a spotlight on the small and large dramas that make up Israeli life.

The Team

  • Mishy Harman

    Mishy Harman
    Host, Senior Producer

    Mishy is a Jerusalemite, through and through. Following his military service, he studied history at Harvard, archeology at Cambridge and…

  • Yochai Maital

    Yochai Maital
    Senior Producer

    Yochai grew up in Haifa, but now can’t imagine calling anywhere but Tel Aviv his home. After eight years as…

  • Zev Levi

    Zev Levi
    Managing Producer

    Zev grew up in Perth, Australia, and started out as a mechatronics engineer. Having lived and worked in Perth’s music…

  • Adina Karpuj

    Adina Karpuj

    Adina is a Chilean native who grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. After traveling the world for a year, she moved…

  • Mitch Ginsburg

    Mitch Ginsburg

    Mitch Ginsburg, a reporter, editor, writer, and literary translator, grew up in Queens, NY and has lived in Jerusalem since…

  • Jamal Risheq

    Jamal Risheq

    Jamal was born and raised in Jerusalem and has a degree in Journalism. Because of a lifelong passion, he also…

  • Shoshana Sarah

    Shoshana Sarah

    Shoshana is an American-born Jerusalemite. She acquired an MA in International Relations from Hebrew University. Then she got a second…

  • Lev Cohen

    Lev Cohen
    Production Intern

    Lev is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated with a BA in social studies from Harvard College, where he covered sports…

  • Shira Shanskhalil

    Shira Shanskhalil
    Production Intern

    Shira studies Psychology and Creative Writing at Johns Hopkins University. She spends as much time as she can outside, hiking,…

  • Jeff Umbro

    Jeff Umbro
    Marketing Manager

    Jeff Umbro comes from digital marketing and publicity departments of the book publishing world. In 2017, he launched The Podglomerate,…

  • Rotem Zin

    Rotem Zin
    Chief Financial Officer

    Rotem was Born in Seattle, Washington, and lives in Haifa with his wife, four kids, and their dog Billie. He…

  • Randy Gorod

    Randy Gorod
    Development Consultant

    Randy Gorod has had a long and diverse career serving in the non-profit sector. He began working as a youth…