The Israeli story of ‘Sipur Yisraeli’


Visionary Zionist Theodor Herzl’s dream of a Jewish state came true in 1948, when Israel won what became known as Milhemet HaAtzmaut, the War of Independence. Since then, Herzl has been honored with 54 Israeli streets named for him, more than any other leader in Israel’s history. And so, in 2012, a group of fledgling podcasters began to wonder: If they visited building No. 48 Herzl St. in different cities, what stories might they find? They went to 37 such locations, and it turned out the answer was a mishmash of the mundane and the remarkable, revealing, by chance, a cross-section of Israeli life ranging from secular to religious, from local businesses to high-rise luxury apartment buildings. 

This is definitely an “Israel Story,” the kind of ambitious, real-people tale that Israel’s most ascendant radio show has become known for since it was founded by four NPR-obsessed Israeli friends. What started as the “Sipur Yisraeli” (“Israel Story”) podcast will begin its third season this summer on Galei Tzahal (Army Radio), a prestigious Hebrew-language national radio network operated by the Israel Defense Forces. The show now also partners with Tablet magazine, which is based in New York, and regularly pitches to American public-radio outlets, hoping to expand the reach of the stories. (The English version of the Sipur Yisraeli site is at http://en.israelstory.org, and “Israel Story’s” English podcasts are available at [More on “Israel Story”