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Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Introducing Local Call, +972 Magazine’s sister site in Hebrew

‘Our work has always been about the communities we live in and interact with. We believe that good journalism is about changing the world for the better, and we want that change to begin at home.’

Sicha Mekomit (sketches by Eran Mendel and RSVP)

 

“How many people in Israel read your magazine?”

We stopped counting the number of times we’ve heard this question in the four years since +972 Magazine was established. The long answer is that while 20 percent of our traffic comes from Israel/Palestine; and while most members of our team were writing in Hebrew and interacting with other Hebrew-language writers all the time, they were doing it on other platforms. Some of the material featured on +972 Magazine – like essays on the Haokets or the Café Gibraltar channels, or reports from Social TV – was already translated from Hebrew. +972 is about connecting the local conversation to the world, so it has always had a local presence, even when we wished our site had more local readers.

The short answer to the above question is, “not enough.”

Our bloggers have discussed launching a Hebrew platform many times over the years. Our work was always about the communities we live in and interact with, so it made a lot of sense. We believe that good journalism is about changing the world for the better, and we want this change to begin in our own home.

Yet time and again, plans for a Hebrew platform were shelved due to a lack of resources. +972 Magazine depends on the work of volunteers, on grants and donations. We feared that doubling the size of our project could have put at risk that which we had already built.

Just as we were nearing a decision to test the waters anyway, there came Just Vision – an organization, with teams in New York, Washington DC and Jerusalem, that creates documentary films and multimedia focused on the struggle of grassroots leaders for freedom, equality and human security. Just Vision suggested partnering with us on the new project, as did Activestills – the photography collective that has been featuring their work on +972 since the site was launched.

And that is how Local Call, +972’s Hebrew-language sister site, was born. (Local Call is a translation of “Sikha Mekomit,” which means both “local discussion” and “local call.”)

Local Call is not a mirror site of +972. Some of our bloggers publish on both sites, but there are many great new writers and a lot of their work will also be featured on the English site. Local call is run by a very diverse group – including Jews and Palestinians, Ashkenazi and Sephardi writers, LGBT, religious-Orthodox, and secular immigrants from the former Soviet Union. What they all share in common are the basic principles of this project: a commitment to ending the occupation, support for human rights, and a strong belief in free, uncensored and honest journalism.

In times of political censorship and increasing difficulty in accessing decision-makers and official information, we seek to expand the conversation and freely discuss what the mainstream media prefers not to touch. While the Israeli political discourse is drifting to the right, we seek to have a strong, unapologetic, human rights-centric message. Whereas newspapers are becoming more cautious — afraid of upsetting subscribers, advertisers and politicians — we want to challenge them all. In short, we believe that the most important journalistic work should take place outside of society’s comfort zone.

In the short month since Local Call was launched, it has been visited by over 40,000 Israelis. The site was the first Hebrew media outlet to feature the videos documenting the killing of two Palestinian teens in Beitunia, and the only outlet to cover the hunger strike by dozens of Palestinian prisoners. These are but a couple examples of the unique voice Local Call seeks to bring into the Hebrew discourse.

If you read Hebrew, we invite you to check out the new site. (Scrap that. We invite you to bookmark it, join our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.) If you don’t read Hebrew, we are certain that you will enjoy the many Local Call pieces that will be translated and featured on +972 Magazine (here are but a few great examples so far).

As always, we invite you to share our work with your friends and followers, and to donate to both projects. It’s your support keeps this project going.

Yours,
The +972/Local Call team

For additional original analysis and breaking news, visit +972 Magazine's Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Our newsletter features a comprehensive round-up of the week's events. Sign up here.

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Dazed and Confused

      So to clarify: the German Green Party and Rockerfeller Fund is funding your new site as well?

      Reply to Comment
      • We believe in full transparency, so you will be able to see a list of all donors in the about page for Local Call, just as you can on this site.

        The main resource we use though is the work of our writers, who are not compensated most of the time. the money is just for maintaining this platform.

        Reply to Comment
        • Dazed and Confused

          Thanks for the transparency!

          I mean that sincerely.

          Obviously not up to American standards (See FARA) but better than nothing.

          Will you also, in the interest of transparency, please post copies of the grant applications and agreements that “תשע שבע שתיים – לקידום עיתונאות אזרחית” entered into with the German Green Party and the Rockerfeller Fund.

          Thanks!

          Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        Yep. The source of money supporting Local Call/972mag for 2013 is as follows:

        Rockefeller Brothers Fund: 105,000 NIS
        Readers donations: 89,000 NIS
        Moriah Fund: 72,500 NIS
        The German Green Party: 48,000 NIS
        Advertising: 10,000 NIS
        Other: 8,000 NIS

        What most likely made it possible for Local Call to come into existence in 2014 is the 2 year $100,000 award by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for 2014 to 972mag.

        In other words, yes, this site and its sister Hebrew site are basically mouthpieces for foreign organizations and would not exist without them.

        Reply to Comment
        • Rab

          Of the three organizations listed, all of them foreign, the most troubling one is the German Green Party.

          https://www.google.com/search?q=The+German+Green+Party+israel&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb

          Moriah is essentially a conduit to New Israel Fund and the Rockefeller money seems to move through Just Vision, an American based organization led by leftists with a connection to Israel and whose politics resemble those of the writers here.

          For 48,000 NIS, perhaps 972 can walk away from the Green Party? It doesn’t looks as if consideration for Israel is even remotely a priority for them.

          Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            I don’t think that the policy of the German Green Party on Israel is particularly different from that of the editorial staff of this website. What is relevant to point out is that the source of the money provided by the German Green Party to 972mag is the German Government which is responsible for nearly the entire budget of the Heinrich Boell Foundation. In other words, 972mag and all organizations receiving money from the Heinrich Boell Foundation are effectively sponsored by a foreign government. The same is true for most other extreme left-wing organizations in Israel which for the most part are operating on budgets supplied by foreign governments, either directly, or through government-funded intermediaries that take the form of “political NGOs” (such as the Heinrich Boell Foundation) or “church charities” (such as Diakonia).

            The deeper one looks at the funding sources of the Israeli extreme left and of Palestinian propaganda organizations the more obvious it becomes that nearly all of them are able to operate only because of their sponsorship by foreign governments and organizations. Even where the name that shows up on the donor list looks like an independent entity operating out of a European country, it is most often a shell organization that is used as a funnel by either a European national government or by the various institutions of the European Union.

            Reply to Comment
        • Philos

          Says the foreigner… Although given the sources of the right in Israel (Adelson, Moshcovits, unnamed Russian & Ukrainian oligarchs, Christian Evangelicals praying for Jewish extermination in The End of Days, and plenty of “small” donations from naive fools from synagogues all over the USA, UK and France) I wouldn’t throw rocks if I was you

          Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Who is throwing rocks? I am merely pointing out the fact that this website and its sister Hebrew website exist as a result of an investment by foreign organizations in creating a platform to promote anti-Israeli propaganda. The financial numbers and the content of the websites certainly speak for themselves.

            Your comment disputes none of this.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Ginger Eis

      You will get your rude awakening, i.e. you have no Jewish Israeli audience! Your audience is constituted by a hateful coalition of foreign agitators against Jews and Zionism, The State Of Israel and The United States! The main parties that form said coalition are (a) Islamists/Muslims, (b) the global far-left, (c) neo-Nazis and (d) Kapos. 99% of them neither speak nor understand Hebrew, while many of them use multiple identities on your English site to comment and stalk (e.g. “Reza Lustig” alias “Ben Zakkai”, alias “Bob Wisby”, alias etc.).

      Reply to Comment
      • Piotr Berman

        A question: would you count as “local” or “international” audience?

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          Relevance? (!). Regardless, I am NOT an audience of +972.

          Reply to Comment
          • sh

            “Regardless, I am NOT an audience of +972.”
            Perfect example of a widespread affliction regarding the State of Israel’s military occupation and its attendant ills called Denial.

            Eis, chill out. You’re a member of +972’s audience even if you don’t like the show, until you walk out.

            Reply to Comment
      • BaladiAkka 1948

        You’re clearly suffering from paranoïa. Reza Lustig and Ben Zakkaï (who’s written articles on Mondoweiss) are not the same person. And even thinking they could be the same as ‘Bob Wisby’ shows that you have no sense of reality.
        But if I understand you correctly: you’re on this site for propaganda reasons only, that really should be enough to give you the kick.
        Do you consider the journalists here Kapos too ?
        Thank you for showing us how far Zionism can drive people towards insanity.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          BaladiAkka, for a retard who spends most of her time in the bedroom and kitchen (not allowed to go out unaccompanied by male relatives!), if anyone posts here with the names “Ismail Haniyeh”, “Yasser Arafat”, etc., then it must be the real things posting. What a dunce!

          Reply to Comment
      • Philos

        יאו, אתה משוגע לגמרי. מאיפה כל השנאה הזאת? יאו, יאו, שמישהו יחבק אותך

        Reply to Comment
        • Tzutzik

          ?ואתה לא מלא שנאה פלוס

          Reply to Comment
    3. Rab

      It’s about time you folks started publishing in Hebrew. It’s a little funny that you went after a foreign audience first. You live in a democracy and if you want to effect change, you need to convince your countrymen, not foreigners, even if they are funding you.

      Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        I visited the site. It appears that we can only post there via facebook. Unless of course I missed something?

        If true, then I have to ask: why?

        Reply to Comment
        • we only allow facebook comments on Hebrew, because moderating comments takes tons of resources and we still don’t do a very good job at it.

          more Israelis have FB than any other people, so we feel that the platform remains open enough even with facebook comments. We actually consider it too here at 972, but we know that the price in terms of the ability of readers to participate will be bigger.

          Reply to Comment
        • To elaborate a bit on what Noam said, Israelis use Facebook far more pervasively, and publicly, than North Americans. Online personalities who would be engaging in hashtag activism on Twitter in the US post statuses on Facebook instead. Politicians brag about how many Facebook likes they have – and pay for likes from the third world, if they’re Bibi. Party leaders and government ministers use Facebook to communicate with constituents, and take questions from activists. Bloggers have taken to using Facebook for microblogging, and sometimes even macroblogging at lengths shorter than tl;dr; even though Facebook comments are a lot less convenient to use than blog comments, they seem to be getting longer comment threads on Facebook than they got on their old blogs.

          Reply to Comment
    4. Tzutzik

      Fair enough.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Laurent Szyster

      Waiting four years to address half of the local public says a lot about who your site was intended for.

      How long will it take you to add Arab to Hebrew ? Supposing of course that there is an Arab public …

      Reply to Comment
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