The Numbers Crunch: Schalit coverage unifies Israelis

Across the Internet - on traditional news sources and social media alike - the homecoming of "Everyone's son" kept us all glued to the news.

Numbers Crunch 311 (photo credit: Mrkay Design)
Numbers Crunch 311
(photo credit: Mrkay Design)
News in the Middle East is never boring, but this past week was massive for Israelis, arguably the most compelling local news story of the decade.
From the moment that the Internet first received a tip that a deal to free kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit would be announced, early in the evening of Tuesday, October 11, the flow of news at was steady and strong, building up to a huge day in terms of both traffic and news volume a week later on October 18.
In terms of individual stories, no surprises. The Top Ten most-read articles of the past week all related to the Schalit story, and in fact all were from the day of his release. The next 10 most-read stories had some minor variation – stories from the days leading up to and the day after the soldier’s release were scattered through that list.
Top Ten Most-Read stories:
These figures echoed two public opinion polls published in the days after the deal was signed and approved by the cabinet, which both found that a  large majority of Israelis were in favor of the deal, despite fears that it would lead to increased terrorism. A poll published by Yediot Aharonot cited data which found that 79% of Israelis backed the deal and 14% opposed it, while a Channel 10 poll found 69 for and 26 against.
Israeli media outlets have agreed to give the Schalit family its space, so that Gilad can begin to recuperate from his ordeal, but the story itself is unlikely to slip from Israeli headlines in the coming weeks and months. Politicians will continue to discuss the deal, arrangements for the release of the second batch of Palestinians prisoners to be freed will begin, international leaders will discuss the deal, analysis and commentary will be widespread and The Numbers Crunch will keep following the news item as it plays out online. One thing is certain – the story was a unifying factor for Israelis this past week – with everyone glued to the news as “Everyone’s son” finally came home.

Gil Hoffman and Nadav Shemer contributed to this report

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

The writer is the Internet desk manager at The Jerusalem Post