+972 Magazine celebrates its first birthday!

Members of the +972 team at the toast, standing (right to left): Mairav Zonszein, Dahlia Scheindlin, Joseph Dana, Roi Maor, Aziz abu-Sarah, Dimi Reider, Shir Harel, Noa Yachot, Yuval Ben-Ami & 972's friend Issa Edward Bourseh. Kneeling: Noam Sheizaf, Ami Kaufman, Yossi Gurvitz (photo: Shalom Boguslavsky)
Members of the +972 team at the toast, standing (right to left): Mairav Zonszein, Dahlia Scheindlin, Joseph Dana, Roi Maor, Aziz abu-Sarah, Dimi Reider, Shir Harel, Noa Yachot, Yuval Ben-Ami & 972's friend Issa Edward Bourseh. Kneeling: Noam Sheizaf, Ami Kaufman, Yossi Gurvitz (photo: Shalom Boguslavsky)

It’s been a bit more than a year since we started working on +972 Magazine, and the site was officially launched last summer. To mark this event, we gathered for a toast in the presence of friends and colleagues on the rooftop of the space belonging to the HaYarkon 70 collective in Tel Aviv (overlooking the US embassy…).

This anniversary is a great opportunity to thank all our readers and followers: Those who commented, sent emails, corrected us, shared our work, argued or supported us – you are the reason we are doing all of this. We write because we care, and we are happy that our voices reach so many people who are just as passionate and engaged as we are.

A special thanks to all the kind people who contributed to our fundraising campaign, which is intended to help us take care of some urgent maintenance and bureaucratic issues (if you want to donate, click on the Paypal icon on the right, or go to this page to read more).

Noam Sheizaf read the following remarks at the toast, on behalf of the entire team:

We’d like to thank all of our friends, colleagues, readers and contributors who have joined us today for our site’s 1st anniversary. Big thanks to the people of the Hayarkon 70 collective, who hosted this event.

+972 was born out of two needs:

The first was the will to sound a new (and mostly young) voice, which will take part in the international debate regarding Israel and Palestine.

The second reason we started the site was professional: Some of us were independent journalists, some of us were working full time in existing media outlets, some of us were in other related professional fields, but we all wanted our own “home” – a place to express ourselves freely, where we control the editorial line, where we could be as controversial, personal, creative, and free as we wish to be.

To achieve this, we came up with a unique model – a Web Magazine that is based entirely on blogs, owned and operated by its writers.

It was clear that the Magazine would have a unique political voice.

Perhaps one of the differences between journalism and blogging is not the field work or professionalism, but the level of personal engagement with the issues one writes about.

+972 writers are politically engaged. Although we have differences within the group on almost every issue, I think I’m not wrong in saying that we all write in support of democracy, freedom of speech, and human rights, and perhaps most importantly, we are committed to political justice and to bringing an end to the occupation, which enters today its 45th year.

In less than a year, +972 Magazine has achieved considerable success – actually, more than we could have dreamed of. Each one of us has thousands of new readers every day, and the site has been mentioned and cited by major news outlets in the US and Europe. It is our pleasure to thank all those who took part in these achievements, maintaining the site on a daily basis, and doing it all completely voluntarily.

We started with a group of six bloggers – right now we are a community of 17 people: writers, editors, a developer, a designer and a legal advisor, who recently joined us.

Before naming them all, I’d like to tell you about the fundraising campaign we started, meant to enable us to support the maintenance costs of the magazine, and to expand its reach. I’d like to thank all those who already donated – many are present here – and if you want to help, check the site for more details.

And now, to the people behind this project:

Our editors: Shir Harel, Noa Yachot and Mairav Zonszein (who is also one of our bloggers)

Our developer and product manager: Ofer Luft

Our designer: Idit Frenkel, who is responsible for the site’s unique look, and cartoonist Eran Mendel for the sketches

Our legal adviser: Jonathan Klinger

Our bloggers (in addition to Mairav, who I mentioned): Ami Kaufman and Dahlia Scheindlin, who are also our op-ed editors; Joseph Dana who spent the day breathing tear gas in Qalandia; Dimi ReiderYossi GurvitzAziz Abu-SarahLisa GoldmanRoi MaorYuval Ben Ami; and Roee Ruttenberg

We would also like to thank all the op-ed writers, those who have supplied translation services, and the Activestills photo agency, which has granted us permission to use its work.

Most importantly – thanks to all our friends here for reading; sharing our work; providing us with feedback, insight and information; and encouraging us to keep going. Without each and every one of you, we couldn’t have made it.

See you all next year!