JNF-USA’s IsraelCast Podcast Builds Bridges Between Israel, Middle East Neighbors and the World

Since 2017 debut, IsraelCast has featured over 100 episodes reaching audiences in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates and around the world

By Ryan Torok



IsraelCast, Jewish National Fund-USA’s (JNF-USA) premier podcast, highlighting Israeli news, culture and history, is reaching audiences in the unlikeliest of places and bringing peoples together through new conversations.


IsraelCast has been downloaded thousands of times in countries with which Israel does not have political ties, including Iran, Iraq and Pakistan. Listeners in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, which recently normalized ties with Israel as a result of the Abraham Accords, are also engaging with the podcast.


Launched in 2017, IsraelCast features accessible conversations with high-profile guests discussing underreported and inspiring aspects of life in and outside of Israel. Actor, circus artist, and clown Nimrod Eisenberg shares how Dream Doctors help hospital patients through humor and entertainment; the Galilee Medical Center’s Dr. Eyal Sela discusses how Israel has treated victims of Syria’s Civil War; and culinary extraordinaire Jamie Geller, known as the “Queen of Kosher,” explains how to make matzah balls with seltzer water.


Over the last few weeks, IsraelCast has featured a special Abraham Accords Series featuring the following guests:

  • January 20: 100th Episode of IsraelCast with Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief, Jerusalem Post.
  • January 21: Thani AlShirwai - Deputy Managing Director of the AlShirawi Group and a specialist in global heavy-mobility, metal-manufacturing and B2B rentals business.
  • January 22: Rabbi Levi Duchman - Chabad Rabbi in Dubai.
  • January 25: Nora Al Awadhi - Emirati pro-peace female activist, recognized the world over for the famous photo of her draped in the UAE flag, beside Ronni Gonen (draped in the Israeli flag) as the two stood atop Burj Kalifa, the world's tallest building.
  • January 26: Dan Fefferman - Author, speaker & researcher who focuses on Israel, the Jewish world and the Middle East. Fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute. Founding Member of the UAE-Israel Business Council. Co-Host of the Jewanced podcast.
  • January 27: May Albadi – Emirati Businesswoman and Author of the upcoming cookbook "Kosherati" with South African-born Elli Kriel.
  • January 28: Lior Aizenberg - Founder, Chess4All who's building bridges between nations and peoples through chess.
  • January 29: Arsen Ostrovsky - International Human Rights Lawyer, Political Analyst & Board Member of "Sharaka.” 

Given the many opinions people have about the Jewish State, IsraelCast host Steven Shalowitz said the podcast strives to transcend the noise and “showcase how Israel is helping the world.”


“For me, it’s been a phenomenal experience,” Shalowitz said. “I have been able to share people’s Israel stories and the remarkable things people have been doing in Israel and the rest of the world. I have been able to learn from people that are in the top of their fields and doing fascinating work with Israel. It has also been an honor because I have been able to share their stories with the wider world.”


Shalowitz records the podcast in New York City at Mirrortone Studios and has taken the program on the road to Israel, where he had the whirlwind experience of conducting close to 20 interviews over the span of one week, including at the JNF-USA’s Lauder Employment Center in the Negev.


“I got on the plane back to New York and I didn’t know who I spoke to, what I just said and what just happened,” Shalowitz joked.


Shalowitz is no stranger to the world of podcasting. For close to a decade, the longtime JNF-USA supporter has hosted The One Way Ticket Show, a podcast featuring celebrity guests answering where they would go if given a one way ticket, no coming back - past, present, future, real, imaginary or state of mind.


While podcasting can be perceived as a solitary medium, IsraelCast is a collaborative effort. Key to its success is Vivian Grossman, vice president of marketing at JNF-USA. She has worked on developing the podcast with Shalowitz by selecting the guests and connecting Shalowitz with them.


What is supposed to be “a two-minute conversation turns into a 45-minute conversation,” Shalowitz said of his close partnership with Grossman.


Other recent guests on IsraelCast have included Jerusalem Deputy Mayor, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum; OurCrowd CEO, Jon Medved; and CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, William Daroff.


New episodes of the IsraelCast podcast are released every other Wednesday and can be heard on all podcast platforms (Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify etc...) and at jnf.org/israelcast. 


To learn more about IsraelCast and the JNF-USA mission, visit jnf.org/israelcast.


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