I read.

All the time. Like seriously, all the time.

Quality content. On my computer. On my phone. I bike to work, and when I pause at a red light, I use that minute to pull out my phone and read some more.

Because the Internet is incredibly awesome. It has insane amounts of quality content. Personally I am into politics, technology and culture, so I read about those. The plethora of quality user-generated-content sites means I never have to look very hard for it: My personal top four are (in no particular order) the Stack Exchange Network, Quora, reddit and Hacker News. Each one of them has at any given moment a large quantity of quality content and discussion, with a great signal/noise ratio. It’s really pretty amazing…

…as long as you’re OK with just English.

Once you’d like content that isn’t in English, you need start looking much harder. Which is odd, because as an Israeli, most of the non-textual content I consume is not in English: I discuss politics, technology and culture — and it’s never in English. Online, however, non-English is very much a second class citizen.

So it’s not the lack of quality content — my interests (Computer Science, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Religion, Pop Culture, Software) are all topics which are discussed verbally in Hebrew. It’s the lack of online tools and communities.

Why is there no ‘Hebrew Quora’, no ‘Hebrew reddit’? Why are Hebrew online communities, at best, either temporary Facebook threads or 2005-style Tapuz forums?

Clearly, most Israelis prefer Hebrew (even those who feel perfectly fine with English, yours truly included). Unfortunately, although the technology revolution means anyone can enjoy the best same tools (Gmail, iPhones, FB), the best content is still inherently local, both in semantics and language.

Israelis need (and deserve) a place to read and write quality content online, too. We can build our own tools, and build our own communities: Where content is king, civility is enforced, and quality — hopefully — shines through. We’ve made the desert bloom once, let’s do it again. It shouldn’t even be that hard since sadly, nobody else is even trying.

Let’s make an awesome Internet in Hebrew, too.

If this interests you, contact me at sella.rafaeli@gmail.com.