The Numbers Crunch: Flotilla stories return

JPost readers support expelling African migrants, Israelis tweeting in English despite Hebrew platform launch.

June 1, 2012 10:59
3 minute read.
The Numbers Crunch

Numbers Crunch 311. (photo credit: Mrkay Design)


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Jerusalem Post readers struck up debate about the 2010 Mavi Marmara affair this week, exactly two years after the incident that led to the killing of nine Turks attempting to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza. On Monday, a Turkish court decided to indict former military intelligence head Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, former chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi and two other former senior officers for involvement in the flotilla raid. On the talkback forums, two of the most-viewed articles covered the story, along with three other diplomacy and security issues.

JPost Top Five most-active threads:
1. Palestinians: Settlers shoot villager near Nablus
2. Jimmy Carter: 'Egypt's Brotherhood would keep Israel treaty'
3. Amnesty Int'l slams Gaza blockade, settlements
4. PM defends IDF officers indicted by Turkish court
5. Ashkenazi: 'Common sense must reign in Mavi Marmara case'

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Looking at the most-read stories according to page views, however, the indictments drew relatively less attention. Instead, the most-read story on the site this past week was that of Nadav Ben-Yehuda, an Israeli climber who saved his Turkish-New Yorker friend’s life by carrying him for about eight hours down the Everest descent. The story was shared 1768 times on Facebook in the past week.

The rest of this week’s Top Five list, as is often the case, was filled with diplomatic comments on regional issues including the Iranian nuclear threat and the ongoing violence in Syria.

JPost Top Five most-read stories:
1. Israeli Everest climber saves Turkish ‘brother’
2. Netanyahu 'revolted' by Syria's Houla massacre
3. Iran hit by new powerful cyber weapon 'Flame'
4. Ya'alon hints at Israeli role in 'Flame' virus
5. Jimmy Carter: 'Egypt's Brotherhood would keep Israel treaty'

Locally, meanwhile, the biggest story was that of violent clashes which broke out at an anti-African migrant rally in Tel Aviv last week. The rally was attended by right-wing MKs from the  “Deportation Now” movement, which calls for the immediate expulsion of African migrants from Israel. In a JPost quick vote taken this week, respondents expressed parallel sentiments, with 40 percent voting that the migrants should be expelled. A further 22% of some 2,000 respondents favored issuing work visas before sending them home.

In another JPost poll, meanwhile, over 60% of over 3,000 respondents saw South Africa's decision that products originating from West Bank settlements not be labeled as Israeli products as a racist act which unfairly singles out Israel's policies. Over 10% of voters, however, said that the move recognizes the injustice of the Israeli occupation.

Moving over to social media, Israelis are still tweeting in English, a week after popular micro-blogging site Twitter launched its full Hebrew version. According to real-time trends site Trendsmap, over the past week 100% of the top trending terms in Israel were written in English, with three general terms tied for the top spot: #israel, #syria and #palestine. In Egypt, by way of example, over 50% of trending topics were posted in Arabic, after three months after the Arabic version was launched.

On JPost’s social media channels, the most popular Facebook post this past week was a preview of a ruling on a burial box that could have held the bones of the brother of Jesus and an inscribed tablet that could have come from the First Temple. A Jerusalem judge on Wednesday sentenced a Tel Aviv antiquities collector to a month in jail and fined NIS 30,000 for allegedly faking the box.

To wrap up, some figures on US public opinion on foreign policy in the Middle East, thanks to a recent poll from the Pew Research Center:

- 46% of Americans are happy with the current level of US support for Israel while 20% would like to more
- 54% of Americans worry that the US will take too long to act on the Iranian nuclear threat, whereas 35% are concerned about a hasty response
- 64% believe the US have a responsibility to act in Syria

Matthew Kalman 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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