Time is right for Ynetnews
People have been asking for an English version of Ynet - Israel’s best news site

Welcome to Ynetnews. Ynetnews is the new English-language website from Yedioth Group, Israel's largest media company. We are the sister site of Ynet , Israel’s largest and leading news website, and of Arabynet .


Ynet in English? Y? Y not?


You can’t imagine how many times I have heard that joke since I began telling people I was heading a team designing and developing After a while, I had a difficult time keeping a polite smile plastered on my face, but the question is a valid one – why another news website from Israel, and why now?


The glib answer, of course, is, “Why not?”


The real answer requires a bit more explanation, as is only fitting for a project that has been in the works for more than a year.


Part of the answer is simple: People have been asking for it, and any smart business investigates what its customers - and prospective customers - ask it to provide.


People have been asking for an English-language website from Yedioth Group, because its first site, Ynet, is simply Israel’s best news and content site, and one of the country’s most popular. But not that many people around the world, on a relative basis, speak Hebrew, so Ynet’s reach has been limited to Hebrew-speakers and those few who receive translated excerpts from the site.


News as it happens - no waiting


Ynet does a terrific job of staying on top of and being ahead of the news in one of the world’s most news-intensive locales. Ynet has its own staff of reporters and editors, separate from parent newspaper “Yedioth Ahronoth,” unlike most other major news websites.


We do not have to wait for print or even broadcast deadlines to churn out stories, but go out and get them on our own, and bring them to the web in “Internet time,” which means, of course, virtually instantaneous with the news itself.


This approach has made Ynet the country’s number one news website, with a massive audience in Israel. Nearly computer user in Israel surfs into Ynet at some point every month.


Nothing like it in marketplace


Ynet has also built a reputation for excellence, objectivity, fairness and high professional standards in an environment where such qualities are often scarce.


This combination of strong news coverage and high ethical and professional standards is why people have been asking for an English-language website on the Ynet model. There simply isn’t anything like it in the marketplace.


But Ynet and Ynetnews are much more than just breaking news services. We are full-spectrum websites with state-of-the-art interactive features, community services, entertainment news and practical advice.


We’re starting out with the core features - top-quality breaking news updates, news, opinion from the country's top commentators, business, culture, travel, and our “Talkback” feature, where you can respond directly to an article, and quickly see your comments posted on the same page as the article itself (Just go to the bottom of the article and press the little Talkback icon to tell me what you think of this article, for example. You'll be able to do it for every article on Ynetnews.).


A larger purpose


Ynetnews has unique features, as well, such as our original comic strip, “The Golem,” featuring Israel’s first and only nanotechnology-powered superhero. Every week we will feature another interesting person from Israel and the Jewish world who will answer Seven Questions. We are also bringing you a weekly horoscope, global and Israeli weather, and more.


Other items worth mentioning separately: an RSS feed for the techno-savvy - get our headlines streamed to your computer, Yblog, our daily look at the wide and wacky world we inhabit, and Singles, our channel devoted to bringing people together.


It would be disingenuous to discuss the reasons for Ynetnews without mentioning the website’s commercial possibilities. We believe Ynetnews is already a desirable place for quality merchants to offer their goods and services to a large and high-quality audience.


We see nothing wrong with that. Bringing merchants together with interested customers has value, and it funds the journalistic work we do.


But a news website must be more than a platform for advertising. Whether it is based in Tel Aviv, New York or Tokyo, a professional news organization has a larger purpose.


We see our greater purpose as making Ynetnews the premier location for accurate, balanced and fair reporting about the full spectrum of life in Israel and across the Jewish world. Don’t get me wrong. Israel is full of political, international and intramural intrigue, and we will not shirk at reporting whatever is going on.


But we will also delve into Israeli lifestyles, culture and diversions, as well as emerging trends and developments in Jewish culture worldwide in ways you have not seen before.


We hope to entertain as much as inform. Please give up the notion that reading about Israel is something you feel obligated to do, but don’t enjoy. Ynetnews is determined not to be “homework,” but entertaining, enlightening and engaging.


So, why now?


Certainly, there has been no shortage of news about and from Israel in the last four years. Anytime in the last four years would have been a good one to launch a news website. Many have tried.


Once again, the glib answer is, “Well, we’re ready, so that’s why we’re launching Ynetnews now.” But I like to think that things happen for a reason, and being ready now means we were meant to be ready now, in a new period of optimism and opportunity, where the news may be as “good” as it has been “bad.” We hope, of course, that whatever good things may happen in the larger world happen to us, too.


Post-launch update


I want to thank all the well-wishers and new readers of Ynetnews. Your response in our first few days has been gratifying. We hope to be able to live up to your enthusiasm and expections for our new website. One thing we have heard: not everyone is happy with the way the weather feature is designed. We will be adding Celsius temperatures to our weather feature as soon as is technically possible. Thanks for reading us so carefully. Keep those Talkbacks and letters coming!


Alan Abbey is Managing Director and Editor of

First published: 23.01.05, 18:55
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