The Numbers Crunch: Rockets online

Twitter fills up with #israelunderfire posts, JPost readers split on how Israel should deal with Gaza attacks.

March 16, 2012 08:07
3 minute read.
The Numbers Crunch

Numbers Crunch 311. (photo credit: Mrkay Design)

Jerusalem Post readers, Israelis and Jews the world over were once again glued to the news over the past week, as southern communities were pummeled with rockets fired from Gaza and IAF planes struck terror targets in the Strip. Online, the response was almost immediate. Almost as the first barrage of rockets fired into Israel was reported Friday night, a new stream, #Israelunderfire, opened up on Twitter, with local residents and Israeli government officials alike using the hashtag. The stream is still active almost a week later, despite a shaky cease-fire.

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On, all of the five most-read stories on the site related to the escalation. Four of the top stories were hard news pieces relaying news of property damage and Color Red alarms, air strikes and Gaza funerals, and the fifth covered statements by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

JPost Top Five most-read stories:
1. Palestinians fire 100 rockets at southern Israel
2. IAF strike on rocket squad brings Gaza death toll to 16
3. Escalation in South: 8 hurt, 1 seriously, by Gaza rockets
4. PM discusses expanding operations in Gaza
5. Grad rockets slam into Ashdod, Gedera

On the talkback forums, too, most comments were about the violence, with the exception of a statement by US President Barack Obama on the Iranian threat, and a diplomatic dispatch on the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

JPost Top Five most-active threads:
1. Palestinians fire 100 rockets at southern Israel
2. IAF strike on rocket squad brings Gaza death toll to 16
3. What the IDF’s Iran wish list would look like
4. Obama: Window for diplomacy in Iran shrinking
5. PA: Register Church of Nativity under ‘Palestine'

In a poll this week on the escalation, however, thousands of JPost readers were split. When asked how Israel should react to the latest round of rockets from Gaza, 37 percent voiced support for a full-scale IDF operation like 2009's Cast Lead, 24% called for increased restrictions on the Strip, and 32% wanted Israel to continue targeting terrorist cells.

Moving over to YouTube, meanwhile, the second most-viewed video in Israel this week was the KONY 2012 clip, which has gone viral the world over and garnered almost 80 million views. The video, which is part of a campaign to raise awareness about war crimes in Uganda, has also garnered over 17 million views on vimeo.

To wrap up, some stats for those who got riled up by what their friends were posting on Facebook this week, or about fake photos on Twitter. A recent study from the Pew Research Center found that when it comes to political content posted online:
• Only 25% agree or mostly agree with their friends’ points of view
• An overwhelming 73% only sometimes agree or never agree with their buddies
• 66% just ignore it if they disagree
• 28% respond to contentious comments
• 10% have blocked, unfriended, or hidden someone because they post about politics too often

• 16% friended or followed someone because they agreed with their political views
• 47% have “Liked” political comments or material
• 38% have responded positively to political posts

Ruth Eglash contributed to this report.

From news sites to blogs, tweets to videos, The Numbers Crunch is a weekly column which zooms out and brings you the big picture online, from Israel, the Middle East and around the world, and poll results from

The writer is the Internet desk manager at The Jerusalem Post.

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