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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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The horrific events of October 7th reminded many people of the darkest chapter in Jewish history - the Holocaust. And indeed, for the past six months, there have been as many comparisons to the Shoah as there have been critiques of those comparisons. Of the roughly 130,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel today, just under 10,000 reside in Jeru…
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In the immediate aftermath of October 7th, Shai Davidai - an Assistant Professor at Columbia University - became an unlikely public defender of Israel. And truthfully, even he was surprised by this turn of events: As a committed left-wing Israeli, he had spent years criticizing the government, and often took to the streets to demonstrate against it…
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Alon Ohel - a talented young jazz pianist - was kidnapped from the Nova party on October 7th, and has been held hostage in Gaza ever since. His family has spent the last five plus months sending him good vibes and good music. In today's episode, his mother - Idit Ohel - talks about the importance of energy, friendship and hope during these dire tim…
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One of very few positive outcomes of this war is that the ongoing debate surrounding the participation of female soldiers in combat has been decisively answered. Women are, as the IDF’s Chief of Staff - Herzi Halevi - has said on multiple occasions, an integral part of the military effort. They serve in tanks and in field intelligence posts, as pil…
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There has been endless talk of the “Home Front” during this war. The "Home Front," as in what goes on here in Israel, as opposed to what happens on the battlefield - in the streets and alleyways of Gaza. But, there is - of course - also a home front, or rather many different kinds of home fronts: some are stoic, others less so; some are somehow man…
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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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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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