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Friday, 2 March 2012

Sky’s No Limit For ‘The Times of Israel’

ParadiveDown our way we’ve been executing all sorts of verbal parabolas in praise of Israel’s latest English language online news-site.

The Times of Israel is  a masterly, elegant piece of technological craftsmanship, worthy of its founding editor David Horovitz, previously at the helm of The Jerusalem Post.

I’m  unsure if the former Londoner will feel flattered to learn that his new product knocks the rather pedestrian sites of both  the Post and Ha’aretz into a cocked hat while giving the U.K.’s  The Jewish Chronicle Online a run for its smart money.

Even tonight as I began writing this, The Times splashed an extremely important, grievously sad story about the late journalist, Marie Colvin. Her mother  had been desperate to extricate Colvin’s body from Syria for burial in the U.S. after  she was murdered last week.

But it has now been revealed that she was buried on Monday at a cemetery in Homs because “(activists) did not have electricity to keep her body refrigerated, and it had started to decay.”

Meanwhile, it is early days for The Times and while it has made an excellent start, I hope its staff will accept a little constructive criticism.

  • I left a message on the online ‘contact’ facility more than a fortnight ago and have not yet received a reply.
  • Some of the stories have been derivative –  even re-cycled.
  • Features like readers’ blogs are being written rather  clumsily and other material has not been fully proofed.

But this nit-picking aside, I can inform Mr Horovitz that his news-site is being read intensely even by those whom he would never guess are part of his market.

This week I  used a feature as a comprehension exercise for a student I help as a volunteer English language mentor. ‘Be Like A Banana,’ The Instructors Said is a first-hand account of a skydiving lesson taken by an Israeli mother wishing to experience a little of what her son would do once he enlisted in the Israeli military.

I was astounded to learn that my 14-year-old student had been on the same course – as a treat for his barmitzvah! I hope young ‘Y’ will continue to enjoy reading The Times for many years to come.


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