Vox Tablet

The Israeli ‘This American Life’ Will Surprise Even Those Who Think They Know the Land Well

After making a splash back home, the creators of the Hebrew-language program are launching an English version on Vox Tablet

August 11, 2014

Several years ago, a group of four young Israelis—friends since childhood—got to work making a Hebrew-language radio show inspired by This American Life, the public-radio show two of them had grown to love while living in the United States. On the airwaves in Israel all that was available was talk radio and music, and the guys wanted something to listen to that was akin to the Ira Glass-hosted program with which they’d become obsessed. So, though they had never before made a radio story, they rolled up their sleeves to create what eventually became Sipur Israeli.

This year, the men—Ro’ee Gilron, Mishy Harman, Yochai Maital and Shai Satran—decided they wanted to make their show available to English speakers, too. They went back to many of the people they had interviewed for stories and spoke to them again, this time in English, for a miniseries, called Israel Story. Israel Story launches as a podcast next week on Vox Tablet and is filled with surprising, suspenseful, and entertaining tales of the weird, the absurd, and the poignant.

The four brains behind Israel Story join Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to talk about how re-reporting stories in another language changes their dynamics, how the recent war in Gaza has affected their work, and whether Ira Glass knows he’s being ripped off.


Vox Tablet is Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast, hosted by Sara Ivry and produced by Julie Subrin. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.

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