Biranit Goren
Editor in chief of Zman Yisrael

The Times of Israel at 10

The Times of Israel celebrated its 10th anniversary at a dinner party in Jerusalem last night. This is the speech I delivered to my colleagues and friends on that occasion
The Times of Israel newsroom
The Times of Israel newsroom

The Times of Israel celebrated its 10th anniversary at a dinner party in Jerusalem last night. This is the speech I delivered to my colleagues and friends on that occasion.

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I have been lucky to be involved with The Times of Israel since it was just an idea in the works – almost 11 years ago – and for the past three years as the editor of Zman Israel, The Times of Israel’s sister site in Hebrew. It has been one of the most enjoyable and inspirational journeys of my life.

Together, throughout this decade, we faced the challenges and obstacles of a very fast-changing world in technology and design, social and political shifts, the deterioration of the press, and the growing public divide – and we tried to somehow master it all. That we are here, ten years on and going strong, is an accomplishment to be proud of.

Yet while technology, design, functionality, commerce and marketing are all major parts of the foundation and vision of a successful news website – they are secondary to the most crucial part of our mission: producing professional, original, accurate, high-quality journalism.

The chief danger to freedom of thought and speech at this moment is not the direct interference of … any official body. If publishers and editors exert themselves to keep certain topics out of print, it is not because they are frightened of prosecution but because they are frightened of public opinion. In this country intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face. … The sinister fact about censorship is that it is largely voluntary.

George Orwell wrote this some 75 years ago. It is all the more relevant today, all the more pertinent for the Israeli press.

When you walk out of here tonight; when you begin another day at the office or on Slack, cherish the knowledge that The Times of Israel – with its blogs platform, its French and Arabic and Farsi versions, and its sister site Zman Israel – is an island of free press that bows to no political agenda, no commercial pressure and no institutional self-censorship. It is not to be regarded lightly nor be taken for granted.

Three years ago – today! – when Zman Israel was launched, I told our staff that we are actually in the mining business – we’re carving a tunnel towards the light, but we are doing this with a spoon.

This task is never-ending. It is slow and many times frustrating. But every so often a ray of light breaks through, and we know we’re moving in the right direction.

So please, don’t stop chiseling through. Don’t rest and don’t give up. What we do – matters. It matters to us. It matters to our readers. And it matters for this country.

To our editor and mentor, David Horovitz, I say: Thank you. Thank you for leading us steadfastly and showing us the way forward. Thank you for having each of us –and all of us – on board. Thank you for the opportunity to do what we love – and to be able to be proud of what we do.

About the Author
Editor in chief of Zman Yisrael, The Times of Israel's sister Hebrew website. Biranit is also a highly skilled web developer, with a rich experience at developing and running successful websites in the USA, Europe and Israel. From award-winning investigative reporter in Israel, Biranit has propelled her career online, initially as the owner of the then-largest Formula 1 website, to becoming web editor-in-chief at Britain’s Haymarket Media and later CEO of Israel’s NRG-Maariv website. She is co-founder and owner of RGB Media, the technology firm behind the design and development of The Times of Israel's websites.