Many people would love to stay up to date on the news coming out of Israel, but who has the time to comb through all the different news outlets across political spectrums on a daily basis to find the tidbits of need-to-know information? Good news—this is not necessary, thanks to IsraelAM. Pioneered and run by Arnie and Natalie Singer of Teaneck, https://www.israelam.com/ is a daily email that summarizes Israel news from multiple sources in a format that can be easily digested in only two minutes.
Arnie Singer used to have precious little time to follow Israel news. He told The Jewish Link: “Living in the US, I’ve always been an avid follower of Israel news. Staying informed about Israeli current events always helped me feel connected in mind, even if I couldn’t actually be there in body. But keeping up with the Israel news on a daily basis was difficult given my busy schedule. There’s no shortage of online Israel news sources in English and Hebrew that cover all political spectrums. But reading even a fraction of them each day would take several hours. So I’d end up reading an article here and there—usually whatever my Facebook friends decided to share. It wasn’t ideal, but at least it was something.”
In the summer of 2015, Singer had a revelation. “It was on a trip to Israel almost two years ago that I had my ‘big idea,’” he said. “What if I could read through the news publications and summarize the main stories in one short email that people could read in just a few minutes every morning? I’d also read the Hebrew-only sources to include those stories that don’t always make the English press but that English readers would find interesting.”
Singer has always been interested in writing and in Israel, and his business career gave him the resources to combine those interests into IsraelAM. “In addition to my business career in management and marketing, I’ve always been an avid writer. Since my days as editor of my high school paper (JEC), I’ve always been interested in reporting the news. So combining writing the news with my love of Israel was a natural fit. My current role as owner of a boutique digital marketing agency gave me the ability to build the IsraelAM website, set up the email system and market and grow the newsletter,” he said.
Singer, a father of three and an ordained rabbi who lives in Teaneck, partners with his wife on their digital marketing projects, and he thought she would enjoy IsraelAM as well. “I discussed it with my wife, Natalie, who analyzed the news as a political officer at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv for seven years, and she loved the idea,” said Singer. “It would take lots of dedication, hard work and early mornings (to get the daily email out by 8 a.m. Eastern time, or sooner), but we decided that it was well worth it because it would help English readers in the US and throughout the world stay connected to Israel every day.”
IsraelAM is not the only email news outlet about Israel, but it is uniquely suited to its audience of Zionists who don’t have hours of free time on their hands. “There are other daily Israel news emails,” said Singer, “but IsraelAM is different (and better) in several ways: First, we write each item in a way that’s clear, concise and understandable. We don’t just include a title and a link. Second, we format our email to make it easily readable on computers and phones. Third, we keep it short, so you get informed as quickly as possible, and finally, we include stories from all political spectrums (as long as they aren’t anti-Israel).”
The Singers work for hours each morning to construct the IsraelAM email and ensure that it is always sent out on time. Singer explained: “In the wee hours of the morning, we scour the English and Hebrew Israeli press to find the stories we think you’ll find interesting. We make the greatest effort to keep our newsletter fairly balanced politically, although always pro-Israel. Once we identify our stories (usually around five), we summarize them so you can get the information you need quickly and easily.”
IsraelAM can can be entertaining as well. “In addition to the standard news stories, we try to find at least one story that is a bit quirky or on the lighter side. That might include an interesting or amusing video. Then we format the newsletter in a way that makes it easily readable on all devices, and off it goes,” said Singer.
Their efforts have been successful—IsraelAM now has thousands of readers across a dozen countries, including government officials and influential communal leaders in the U.S. and Israel.
The Singers do not charge for their service and they do not run advertisements; although they are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and accept donations and private and corporate sponsorships, their primary reward for creating IsraelAM is the gratitude of their subscribers. “It’s inspiring to get testimonials from readers who consider IsraelAM to be an indispensable resource and connection to Israel,” Singer said. “It’s also really cool to speak to total strangers who read IsraelAM or who have heard of it. It’s personally satisfying to know that you’re building a brand from scratch.”
By Tani Greengart