Israel Story

Israel Story

Israel Story is a bi-weekly podcast, hosted by Mishy Harman and distributed by PRX, the Public Radio Exchange. It tells modern tales from an ancient land – the kind of stories you’d share with a friend over a plate of hummus on a Friday afternoon, or with your partner at the end of a long day. These are everyday stories, told by, and about, regular Israelis. The award-winning show is one of the most popular programs in Israel, where it is aired nationally, on prime-time.... Show More

Episodes

November 1, 2019 31 min

To most, Adolf Eichmann - the mastermind behind the Nazis’ ‘Final Solution’ - is the ultimate symbol of evil. But to a small group of Israelis, he was no more than a gaunt and balding middle-aged prisoner. This is the story of those who looked evil in the eye, and lived to tell the tale.

Last week we aired a story about Dr. Yonah Elian, the anesthesiologist who sedated Eichmann during his capture back in 1960. And today ... Read more

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October 25, 2019 44 min

In May 1960, the Mossad captured Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires, and brought him to stand trial in Jerusalem. It's one of Israel's most glorified chapters, right up there with Entebbe, the bombing of the Iraqi Nuclear Reactor and Operation Solomon. So why did the doctor who sedated the Nazi mastermind minimize his role in the saga? And what can that tell us about the legacy of World War II, eighty years after its start?<... Read more

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Repentance, prayer and charity, we are told, are our saving graces when Yom Kippur comes around. And, of course, confession is a big part of that trifecta. But do we still get the coveted brownie points if that confession took thirty years?

In 1989, Robby Berman - a recent Yeshiva University grad and enthusiastic Zionist - made aliyah and was drafted into the IDF. But nothing in his basic training prepared him for the bl... Read more

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September 27, 2019 29 min

Rosh HaShanah is cleanup time, even at the Kotel. But what happens to the millions of notes tucked away in its cool crevices? And what on earth does that have to do with Leonard Cohen, impromptu sword-fights and carp fish in the bathtub?

For many folks, visiting the Kotel is emotional, meaningful and - more than anything - private. In fact, the single most common experience people have at the Western Wall is inherently p... Read more

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September 10, 2019 65 min

Walls can make us feel safe, warm and protected. But that's also their greatest danger. After all, walls can cut us off from what is going on outside, and hiding behind them can give us a false sense of security and stability. Throughout this series, we've tried to open up windows in the walls that make up Israeli society. And that's a tricky thing to do, really. You need to make sure you don't damage the foundat... Read more

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September 5, 2019 9 min

If you are new to the show, there are so many episodes for you to check out. Why not start with Operation Hulda, Love Syndrome, and Milk, Honey and Sweet Mary Jane?... Read more

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August 12, 2019 58 min

Walls are something you can see. Something you can touch. Something you can run into and get a nasty bump on your head. Or... are they?! In our episode today - part three of our miniseries - we tell the stories of three walls that won't appear on your typical map. Three walls you'd probably miss unless you heard about them, well... here. But don't think that makes them less significant or present in daily Israeli soc... Read more

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For the last seventeen years, when people say "the wall' and "Israel" in the same sentence, they're usually referring to something very specific: A four-hundred-and-forty-mile-long barrier - some 95% of which is a sophisticated multi-layered fence, and some of which, especially in urban areas, is an imposing concrete wall. Seen from the Israeli side, this fence/barrier/wall represents security, stability and ... Read more

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Everywhere we turn these days, it seems as if walls are staring back at us. Their powers are magical: They protect and alienate; keep people both in and out; and can even - as we have all seen - bring mighty governments to a total standstill. Israel, too, has its share of walls, and no, not just the West Bank separation wall. In this four-part miniseries, we visit some of the country's most famous walls journeying from the B... Read more

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April 25, 2019 28 min

Here’s a little bonus - a wonderful recent story from our friends at Unorthodox.

For more, head to our site.

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June 27, 2018 2 min

A quick note from a big celebration.

For more, head to our site.

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Over the last four episodes, we’ve told the stories behind some of Israel’s most iconic songs. When we set off on this musical journey, we hoped to find a unicorn, a unifying island of Israeliness that escapes the usual polarization which dominates most conversations about Israel. Instead, however, we discovered that music not only reflects, but often amplifies, our contrasts. We all sing in different keys, with different words ... Read more

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In Israel today, Mizrahi – or “Eastern” – music is ubiquitous. In fact, to many, it is practically synonymous with Israeli music. But that wasn’t always the case. For decades, Israeli radio stations ignored Mizrahi tunes and exclusively played music rooted in Ashkenazi traditions. That began to change in the l... Read more

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In 1968, an up-and-coming left-wing politician by the name of Uri Avnery brazenly suggested replacing Israel’s national anthem, HaTikvah. His proposal was surprising, given the fact that the would-be replacement was the unequivocal anthem of the Six Day War, Yerushalayim Shel Zahav.... Read more

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May 25, 2018 36 min

Let’s face it – when it comes to Israel, everything is complicated. Politics are complicated, religion is complicated, democracy is complicated, the conflict is complicated. Even our complications are complicated. These are the things that take us out to the street. That make us shout, and cry. That fill us with hope, and – just as often – plunge us into utter despair. But there is (seemingly) one island within Israeli society t... Read more

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May 18, 2018 68 min

Somewhere between post-Passover fatigue and summer-is-around-the-corner excitement, Shavout tends to be overlooked. But in reality, it is the secret gem of the Jewish calendar: A festival that’s all about strong women, wheat harvests, creamy cheesecakes and receiving the Torah. What else could you possibly want from a Jewish holiday?

And at the center of this wondrous celebration is an unlikely heroine, the Bible’s quint... Read more

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March 30, 2018 65 min

Tonight, Jews around the world will gather together at their seder tables. They will drink wine, ask questions, search for the Afikoman and recite the obligation to see themselves as if they personally had come out of Egypt. And that is, really, what the seder is all about – the telling and retelling of the greatest Jewish “coming out” story of all time. A story of venturing out into the unknown, of wandering in physical and met... Read more

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February 19, 2018 72 min

Today, we bring you an episode from our friends over at Unorthodox – another show produced by Tablet Magazine: “The Kids Are Alright.”

For more, head to our site.

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February 2, 2018 52 min

According to a recent study conducted by the Israeli Anti-Drug Authority, the Holy Land might as well be rebranded as a ‘Weedtopia.’ More than a quarter of adults aged 18 to 40 reported having used marijuana within the last month. This stat, says the Authority’s chief scientist Prof. Yossi Harel-Fisch, places Israel among the countries with the highest rate of pot smokers in the world. In this episode, we chugged along the Hudso... Read more

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December 23, 2017 69 min

Imagine an abandoned White House, covered with graffiti, open to the winds, full of trash, broken bottles and condom wrappers. Now go a step further and picture it against the background of the most beautiful Middle Eastern panorama you can conjure up. That is Tell El-Ful, a hilltop in East Jerusalem. Ever since we learned about the existence of a deserted Hashemite palace perched atop the mound, we’ve been on a mission to uncov... Read more

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