About the guide

Vision

In May 2008, on the occasion of Israel’s 60th birthday, a new popular research website was launched on the Internet: People-Israel – Your Guide to Israeli Society. The dynamic, multimedia guide was established by Prof. Oz Almog (sociologist and historian) and Dr. Tamar Almog (e-learning expert), from the University of Haifa - Israel, as a free public service.
 
The guide provides a wide range of up-to-date user-friendly information about the Israeli society and its variety of subcultures and life styles. On People-Israel, Israelis and readers world wide can learn about numerous topics pertaining to Israeli society, which until now were either unknown or only superficially understood.
 
People-Israel was warmly received by the public and we the number of daily visitors is growing steadily – currently reaching up to 1,000 a day. The guide was named by Ynet (Israel's largest and most popular online news and content website) as one of Israel’s top ten Internet sites for 2008.

Background

Israeli society is a variegated mosaic of subcultures created by first, second, third and fourth generation immigrants who came from about 100 different countries. The seven million Israelis differ in patterns of taste, tradition, and social norms, as evidenced, among other things, by each group’s language, clothing, food, housing, leisure activities, political views, education, etc. This social diversity creates a colorful and vibrant society that allows for exchanges of cultural products and lifestyles a well as tensions and conflicts.
 
The term cultural diversity has become a mantra of sorts in the democratic world, including Israel, and intercultural encounters in multicultural societies are hot topics in the context of politics, the media, education, and art. Yet, paradoxically, while many people continually talk about cultural diversity, often they are not actually familiar with the cultures. Interesting subjects necessary for the understanding of similarities and differences between ourselves and others are not properly documented and presented to the public.
 
Scholarly and non-scholarly textbooks on Israeli society are many. But no single complete guide or database (hard copy or electronic) supplies the necessary information on all subgroups, cultures, and lifestyles including all (or most) of their respective social characteristics.
 
We, therefore, decided to take on the challenge and developed a creative online guide.

Major Goals

> To provide organizations and individuals with valuable user-friendly creative and updated information (text, photos, video clips) on the diverse Israeli cultures.

> To develop an innovative sociological online tool that will help firms, governments, and populations function this multicultural society in the most efficient and sensitive way.

> To develop a new educational model for multicultural societies in the global world.

> To reduce prejudice and stereotyping in the Israeli society, and to promote peace, tolerance, and understanding between groups with different cultures and lifestyles.

The software

The innovative software used in implementing the site, developed over the course of three years by Dr. Tamar Almog and red-id digital design agency, facilitates complete autonomy in operating the site.

The basic idea of People-Israel is to present each article (page) in two split columns (independent screens): the left column features a running text and the right column offers visual illustration and graphic tools/elements, such as a dynamic table of contents, charts, photos, video clips, and PDF files. There is a functional link between the two screens: clicking on a colored keyword on the left text screen will bring up the relevant visual information on the right screen. The objective was to make reading easier in the era of browsing and skimming, and to use visuals for illustration and visualization in the era of multimedia.
 

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What is available at this site?

> Sociological friendly information and analysis of the following topics: Demography; Clothing Culture; Economy and Consumption; Residence; Family; Health and Hygiene; Entertainment and Leisure; Food Culture; Language and Speech Patterns; Information and Communications; Education; Religion and Faith; Law and Criminality; Army, Security and National Service; and Political Behavior.

> More then 30,000 photos (in articles and albums), including indoor photos of apartments, places of work, places of worship, and institutes of education.

> Links to relevant Internet sites.

> Discussion forums.

> Communication channels for additional public input, e.g. uploading of family albums, personal videos, etc.

Sources of information

  1. Scholarly articles and books.
  2. Encyclopedias, lexicons, and atlases.
  3. Articles and stories that have appeared in magazines, journals, and the daily press.
  4. Publications and reports by organizations, institutions, and state or private research institutes (government ministries, municipal and local authorities, Central Bureau of Statistics, etc.).
  5. Archives, libraries, and computerized databases.
  6. Internet sites and databases.
  7. Museums and private collections.
  8. Informative interviews (with researchers in anthropology, history, linguistics; researchers in        the fields of art and education; people from within the subculture itself; people who come into daily contact with the subculture).
  9. Documentary films.
  10. Field photographs and videos.
  11. Works of art that contain ethnographic insights on Israeli cultures (novels, films, paintings, photos, etc).
  12. Polls and field studies that will be executed by the Center’s directors and employees as well as subcontractors. 

Our Users

Educational institutions and organizations; academic and research institutions; government agencies and institutions; art and humanities organizations; social and welfare organizations; local and foreign media; information agencies; commercial companies; advertising agencies; polling experts; market analysts; political strategists; security agencies; public in general – anyone seeking to broaden his or her knowledge of Israeli society (Jewish communities in the Diaspora, tourists and other visitors, foreign representatives in Israel, etc.) 
 

Who Supports Us?

People-Israel was established with the support of UNESCO, the Council for Higher Education in Israel, The Israel Corporation, the University of Haifa and the Samuel Neaman Institute for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology at the Technion, Haifa, Israel (the project's primary sponsor).

The guide is currently operated with the support of the Samuel Neaman Institute.