Episode 25: Mishy Harman, host of the popular 'Israel Story' podcast

His show has millions of downloads from around the world. Here's the story behind the hit series.

Ira Glass single-handedly invented a radio genre with his audio documentary series "This American Life." Now in its 25th year, the show has more than 5 million weekly listeners.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. When Mishy Harman, a Jerusalem native, first heard "This American Life," he knew the format was ripe for adaptation. And so he launched "Israel Story." The podcast has grown from a hobby between a few friends to a production that now includes 16 people – including musicians and editors. It boasts listeners from 194 countries and has upwards of 2 million downloads a year.

The show recently kicked off its fifth season with stories from Israel including a mysterious clock heist that went unsolved for a quarter-of-a-century and nationwide protests over cottage cheese.

Any culture is best explained by the stories people tell about it. Mishy Harman and his team are doing just that. We had a great conversation with Harman about the cross-country road trip that inspired his popular show, what his goals are for the future, and the story behind a circumcision that involved a luxury yacht, a private jet, and international intrigue befitting a James Bond movie.

Further reading: Check out our profile of Mishy Harman

The 'Israel Story' team met their podcasting muse, 'This American Life' host Ira Glass (center in black sweater). The 'Israel Story' team met their podcasting muse, 'This American Life' host Ira Glass (center in black sweater). (Photo: Courtesy Mishy Harman)

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Episode 25: Mishy Harman, host of the popular 'Israel Story' podcast
His show has millions of downloads from around the world. Here's the story behind the hit series.