The moment I enter www.Mishu.im the page blares at me in Hebrew: “Which side are on you on?” Underneath, I am presented with a choice: blue button for Right and red button for Left.
There’s nothing else on the page. I choose Right.
I find myself suddenly in a chat room, paired against an unidentified Left-wing user on the other side of my keyboard.
A Leftist has connected, good luck! It says above the chat box.
“Hey brother I am a black American,” the screen prompts.
“What's up?” I write back. “I’m an American.”
Mishu.im, whose slogan is “Someone to fight with,” was created five months ago by Tal Israeli, a full stack web developer who develops apps for small businesses. Israeli tells America's Frontline News he was inspired by a similar project in 2014, developed by brothers Asaf and Eyal Geva.
“That website was terminated, and I wanted to create the same experience of making people with different political opinions find common ground,” Israeli says. “With tiny modern improvements, I created this website before the 2022 Israeli elections.”
The site’s meta description reads: “On the site you can express opinions, discuss and argue with the other side of the political map. Just pick a side and start fighting! It is desirable and even recommended to discuss your decisions in the 2022 Knesset elections.”
How’s it going? I ask Israeli.
He says that in the last two weeks, over 60,000 users have visited the site. In that time, Mishu.im hosted more than 180,000 conversations between Right-wing and Left-wing users.
“I love politics, I think debating is important if your country is important for you and you want things to be changed. I like to debate, I do it all the time, I'm in many political communities,” Israeli adds.
Will you be creating a mobile app version?
“I'm not planning at this moment to make an app out of this website, but I'm planning to make soon big updates and expand more topics to argue in the website like sports.”
I ask to be paired up again. This time I’m greeted by a message in Hebrew.
“English,” I write back.
“Oh,” comes the reply. “I was asking if you’re the prince from nes ziona.” She’s referring to an Israeli song, and I think she’s high. I disconnect.
I return to the site hours later.
This time my opponent says he identifies as Libertarian. I ask him if that’s just a word for conservatives who are too afraid to admit it. He laughs. It’s not his first time on Mishu.im.
Why are you here?
“I just love arguing with progressive people because they’re funny.”
Do your conversations on here end well?
“They never end well. Many of them curse at me because they can’t substantiate their positions.”
So why do you come back?
“Because I love it. That’s what makes progressive people so funny.”