About ThinkIL website

You will find here all the books and articles written by Zvi Yanai, and hundreds of texts by leading scientists, artists and culture icons. One can browse through all these texts, using filters of disciplines and tags, and several formats from realistic flip pages to scrolling on touch screens.

Interesting pages on this site:

  • Issues page – from issue #1 to Issue #68, covers, Table of contents, enjoy read via browsing or flipping the pages.
  • Clouds and filters – resembling Zvi Yanai’s interdisciplinary mind – letting the users follow articles filtered by subjects, disciplines, and more.
  • Yours Sandro – Flip through his most popular book that received the Sapir award of literature
  • Radio and TV – watch and listen to Zvi Yanai as a host or a guest, in video and sound
  • and many more…


Initiator of the project, Dalia Hochberg, spouse of Zvi Yanai and owner of the copyrights to his writings. With the marketing advisor – Oran Huberman.

Sponsors: Yanki Margalit, Prof. Dan Arieli, IBM Israel; Publishers: Keter, Am-Oved, Poetica; Educational Television and IBA Radio.


The website was created by neora_logo – specializing in multilingual and textual websites, promoting the concept of Open Source and Open Contents, licensed with Creative Commons. The project included scanning all the printed materials, OCR the texts to HTML formats that are displayed in flip design and uploaded to wordpress CMS. Each text is then edited, to set images and special displays, as well as proofreading to fix machine errors. Texts are tagged in few ways, to enable filtering of the search through them, and are carry related links to audio and video items, from those days, and/or some of today’s advances.

The people in this project:

  • Neora ShemShaul – Project management and database analysis & design, programming of forms and views and more.
  • OCR and related scripts, content management on wordpress and textuali.com – Reviva Tal
  • Programming – Ilay Sofer, Info-graphics – Nimrod Kerrett.
  • Tagging and content editing – Shachar FuchsPHP

About Zvi Yanai

Zvi Yanai was born in Pescara, 9/6/1935 as Sandro Toth, to a Jewish ballerina from Austria and a Christian baritone singer from Hungary. Yanai was raised as a Protestant but converted to Catholicism and studied to become a priest at the age of eight.

Both his parents died during WW2, and he was raised by his nanny Ida lenti until the war ended.

In 1945 at the age of 10, he and his two sisters immigrated to Mandatory Palestine and Zvi was sent to a kibbutz Ramat David. He later served in the Israel Defense Forces as a paratrooper and after his release from the army, worked at IBM-Israel as a public relations manager for many years.

For more than 30 years he edited the influential and prestigious interdisciplinary journal Mahshavot (Thoughts) and was a prominent lecturer in the fields of science, culture and philosophy, in spite of the fact that he was an autodidact and didn’t hold any academic diploma, a self-described atheist, Yanai felt, nevertheless, a strong affiliation to Jewish history and thought.

Between 1993 and 1997, he served as a director-general of the ministry of Science and Culture.

“Yanai was a pioneer who opened up the world of science to the laypeople. His work can still be identified in popular culture today,” said the minister of Sience, Ya’akov Peri, in his obituary to Zvi Yanai.

More Info

More About Him and his Works

Tom Segev, “Haaretz”, December 1st, 2006: “Yours, Sandro – A book to be spoken of…A Jew and a child priest’s assistant, a member of the fascist youth and a kibbutznick; a clandestine Christian ‘Maranno’ and a paratrooper in the IDF. A ‘celebrity’ who made a most significant contribution to the Israeli cultural life”.

Zvi Yanai who ‘wears’ one of the most famous bald-heads in Israel, is a self-taught scholar who popularized science and brought it to the understanding and excitement of Israeli lay people. This he achieved mainly through the interdisciplinary magazine “Thoughts” (Machshavot) published by IBM Israel, which he edited and wrote most of its articles for more than 20 years.

… The book is very touching albeit restrained, almost scientifically; sad but not self-pitying, ironic, skeptic, engaged and detached at the same time.

A little like The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, a little like “La vita è bella of Roberto Benigni, the book integrates Italian Operas’ absurd with an Israeli secularism and hystoriosophycal observations on Jewish and Human destiny”.

Liran Axelrod, “Yedioth Aharonot”, December 2006: “…. Wonderful. Zvi Yanai writes in a clear, coherent and beautiful style. A family story that is bigger than life, and includes all possible options of a Jewish family history in the 20th century”.

“Fascinating not only because of the story, but because of the author’s passion to reconstruct it after years of suppression. What makes it even more fascinating is the complex correspondence between the family members – before, during and after WW II, weaved into the letters of Sandro to Romolo”.

Eric Gelsner, “Ma’ariv”, December 2006: “His (Yanai’s) life story is more than fascinating, but what makes the story extraordinary, is his special humanistic, moral and rationalistic manner of observation, expressed in any line, any sentence”.

Hagar Yanai, “Globes”, December 2006.“Yours, Sandro” turns into an important novel at the point in which it turns into an ‘identity definer’”.

Ilana Dayan, “Uvda” (Fact), Israeli TV channel 2: “Few people have a life story like that revealed by Yanai, even fewer can tell this story like that”

“He already was the general director of the ministry of science, when he dared open a little bundle of his mother’s letters… now the man of reason is finally able to tell us how before ‘converting’ to become an Israeli, a kibbuznick and a paratrooper, he was a little Italian orphan, son of a gentile father that disserted, and a concealed Jewish mother, a dancer, that raised him as a devoted Christian, and then, died at the age of 32”.

“As a child he found comfort in books. In a matter of few years he swallowed hundreds of books, and within 20 years will become an icon… throughout the years he becomes almost the ‘high priest’ of coincidence in science, and looking for phenomena in the universe and nature”.

Accidentally, Yanai starts working for IBM Israel, and turns a minor PR magazine into the most popular and most prestigious magazine in Israel. Love and genetic engineering, the mysteries of the universe and the meaning of life, those, among others, were the articles in ‘Machshvot’ (thoughts). There was no ‘dignified’ coffee table that did not ‘decorate’ itself with Machshavot”, edited by Zvi Yanai.”

Dan Margalit, “Supplement of Supplements”, Israeli T.V. channel 2: “In the Israeli public, Zvi Yanai is known as “Mr. Rationality”, man of reason and ultimate enlightenment, as general director of the ministry of science, a man who knows almost everything, and suddenly he surprises his readers with a most personal book.”

Manuella Deviry, “Books, ladies and gentlemen, books”, Israeli IDF radio.“This book is about loneliness, about separation. About children who were forced to ‘cut’ something out of their past in order to grow up and function. … The images are maddening and overwhelming, pictures of tiny pieces of life from which little is left….The image and personality of the mother is very moving, as is the recipe of the cake at the end of the book. What a wonderful way to end the book”.

Tom Segev, the Knesset T.V. channel. “I envy your knowledge of your own astonishing story. … We are a country with astonishing life stories, but people like you make this country so fascinating”.

Izhak Livni, “Between Friday and Saturday”, Israeli radio channel 2: “You are actually an Israeli cultural icon, the man that brought science to the masses through television, books and mostly through ‘Machshvot’ magazine, that was – I remember well – so central to intellectual life in Israel.”

“This book is one of the best I’ve read for quite a long time. I don’t say it frequently. I say it to you with a genuine excitement. That’s it! And I would say it with a ‘bang’ on the table, so that it can be heard/

“There is no self pity in the book. What there is, is a ‘cold’ analysis, like in your scientific books, using a precise, controlled, rational analysis, but underneath bubbles a very deep and powerful emotion, that is more effective precisely because of this control and restraint”