Two U.S.-born Israeli entrepreneurs have launched a website intended to ease the pain of Anglos trying to buy and sell second-hand goods in Hebrew online.
Founder and CEO Yitz Lefkowitz, a Brooklyn native who moved to Israel 12 years ago, identified a gap in the market after he and co-founder Dovy Schwarzmer discovered a "lack of clarity" on Hebrew-language shopping websites.
The exclusively English-language theshuk.co.il went live in May 2011, joining platforms such as Janglo - established in 2001 as a Yahoo group, and now a website in its own right - aimed at helping Anglos in their efforts to buy (or sell ) that perfect second-hand fridge.
The company estimates that there are close to 1 million Facebook users in Israel who speak English, representing the core of The Shuk's target market, according to Lefkowitz.
"The Shuk was founded with the goal of bringing Anglos together to buy and sell products and services in an environment in which they can feel completely comfortable and secure," he says.
Visitors to The Shuk can list or browse items in categories including electronics, Judaica and toys; list items they wish to give away for free; or advertise their "Moving Sales."
Users do not pay commission; the site's business model is based on advertising revenues.
Since setting up the website four months ago, the founders say they have received nearly 700 visitors a day, and they predict that the number of visitors to their site will increase to 2,000 within the next four months.
For Lefkowitz, part of the potential of a website designed almost exclusively for the English-speaking marketplace is the sense of trust among Anglos in Israel.
"The reality is that we tend to find our fellow Anglos more believable and trustworthy," he says.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now