The first show took a year to produce, which was a learning experience in itself, since none of the friends involved in the podcast’s development knew anything about radio.

When Mishy Harman and his puppy Naomi took a cross-country trip from Massachusetts to the West Coast of the U.S., the last thing on his mind was developing a globally recognized podcast. But it was during that voyage that Mishy fell in love with the blend of storytelling and journalism presented on the National Public Radio (NPR) show This American Life, which he avidly listened to as he trekked across the vast American landscape.

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Best friends Mishy Harman (left) and Yochai Maital

And it was during this trip, which many have taken, and Nat King Cole sang about in his hit song Route 66 (granted, that was only Chicago to LA), that he pondered the creation of a show about his native Israel, emulating the style and feel of the popular NPR program. Upon returning home to Jerusalem, Mishy teamed up with his best friend since childhood, Yochai Maital, and a few others to produce Israel Story.

Originally broadcast in Hebrew, the show quickly gained traction among listeners, and even with the Israeli Defense Forces Public Radio. It was not long after that an English version of the podcast was produced, where it became popular in the U.S., the UK, Australia, and even in far out reaches of Asia.

The first show took a year to produce, which was a learning experience in itself, since none of the friends involved in the podcast’s development knew anything about radio. The show sounds very much emulates the style of This American Life and, much like the NPR show, focuses on lesser-known elements of day-to-day Israeli life. Israel Story has a very neutral stance on all issues. As Yochai explained, “We’re not trying to advocate for or against Israel.” Rather, the producers of the podcast see themselves as chroniclers.

Today, Mishy, Yochai, and their team perform live shows across the U.S. and Israel. However, if you can’t catch them live, there are many ways to listen to Israel Story. Episodes can be streamed via their website, israelstory.org, or on the Podcast App on Apple devices, as well as through Stitcher on the Android platform.


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