(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israel dropped sharply in the Reporters Without Borders' eighth annual World Press Freedom Index, which was released Sunday.
Israel sank 47 places from the previous year, to 93, with regard to its domestic press freedom, losing its top spot among Middle Eastern countries to fall behind Kuwait (60), Lebanon (61) and the United Arab Emirates (86).
Reporters Without Borders registered five arrests of journalists in Israel and three cases of imprisonment. Military censorship also poses a "threat" to journalists, the report says.
Operation Cast Lead led to the country being ranked 150 for its extra-territorial actions' effect on the press. Around 20 journalists in the Gaza Strip were injured and three were killed while covering the offensive.
Reporters Without Borders compiles the index every year on the basis of questionnaires completed by hundreds of journalists and media experts around the world. This year's index reflects activity between September 1, 2008 and August 31, 2009.