Top Israel News Stories for 2014

It seems like there is a breaking Israel news story every day in Israel. From all of the news of 2014, here are some of the top stories in no particular order:

  • Record Breaking Immigration: Israel welcomed approximately 26,500 new immigrants in 2014. Immigration numbers were the highest in a decade with a 32% increase from 2013. The most immigrants came from France with 7,000 immigrants, while 5,840 moved from the Ukraine. Tel Aviv, Netanya and Jerusalem were the top three locations where immigrants chose to settle in their new home.

  • Kidnapping and Murder of Three Israeli Teenagers by Hamas: On June 12th three Israeli teenage boys, Gil-Ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel were abducted from a popular hitchhiking post in the Gush Etzion area on their way home. The IDF launched Operation Brother’s Keeper in attempt to locate the boys, but on June 30th, search teams discovered the bodies of the boys in a field northwest of Hebron. The incident and tragedy united Israelis and Jews around the world who rallied around the families, expressed support, and prayed for the boys and their families.

  • Operation Protective Edge: On July 8th, Israel launched an operation to stop the relentless rocket fire from the Gaza Strip targeting Israeli cities and towns. The rocket fire escalated after Israel arrested Hamas leaders in response to the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teenagers in June. Israel later expanded the operation’s aims to include destroying the intricate tunnel system that Hamas had built to infiltrate Israel. Over the course of the fighting, 82,201 IDF reservists were called up and there were 70 Israeli casualties. Gaza health officials said more than 2,100 people were killed in the fighting. Unfortunately, many of the Gaza civilians who were killed and injured were those who were used by Hamas as “human shields.” At the end of August, a ceasefire was brokered and the fighting subsided. Click here for more information:

  • Terror and the Har Nof Terrorist Attack: In late summer and fall of 2014, Palestinian terrorists carried out a series of deadly attacks on Israelis. The most deadly attack occurred on November 18th when two Palestinian terrorists from East Jerusalem entered a synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem. Using axes, knives and guns, the terrorist brutally murdered the victims while they were praying. Four Jewish Rabbis who held dual citizenship (Israeli-American/British) were murdered, a Druze police officer who was a first responder was initially critically injured but later died of his wounds, and seven other Israelis were hurt.

  • Early Elections: Less than two years after previous elections, the Israeli Knesset voted to dissolve the Knesset and scheduled new elections for March 17th, 2015. The decision came after almost two years of tension between the different coalition partners in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

  • Death of Ariel Sharon. After suffering a stroke and being in a coma for 8 years, Ariel Sharon succumbed at age 85 on January 11, 2014. Sharon was a general and commander in the IDF and served in the War of Independence, the 1956 Sinai Campaign, the Six Day War, and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Notably, Sharon established the Paratroopers 101 commando unit. Sharon entered into politics in 1977 after leaving the IDF, eventually becoming Israel’s 11th Prime Minister from 2001-2006 as head of the Likud party. At the end of his career, Sharon backed and implemented Israel’s ill-fated 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip. He then when on to found the short-lived center Kadima party. After a military funeral, he was buried next to his beloved wife. He is survived by his two sons.

Israel in the International Media

Israel tends to get a bad rap in the international media. When the media’s reporting is colored by an anti-Israel bias, these media outlets succeed in bolstering the terrorists, distorting reality, and delegitimizing Israel in the eyes of viewers around the world. In 2014, this strong media bias against Israel was especially noticeable in the reporting of Operation Protective Edge and the Har Nof, Jerusalem terrorist attack. See what top news sources had to say:

Operation Protective Edge:

Reporting by the international media was characterized by a strong anti-Israel bias as well as glaring professional and ethical failures, that manifested in all aspects of coverage: headlines, reports, editorials, photos and cartoons. Part of the problem was that the images depicting what was happening in Gaza showed only what Hamas allowed the media to share via their censure. The Hamas censure, as well as Hamas’s intimidation of journalists, ensured that only images of destruction—some of which were staged—and of civilian casualties, especially women and children, were allowed to be broadcasted from Gaza. What was grossly missing were the images of rockets launchers situated in populated areas including UNRWA schools, hospitals and mosques. Moreover, only a few brave journalists had the courage to tell viewers about the Hamas censure and of Hamas’s practice of exploiting casualties by using human shield.

Additionally, the international media largely blamed Israel because of the disproportionate death toll, conveniently forgetting to take into account that Hamas routinely inflates death toll figures, employed the deadly practice of using human shields, and killed many of its own people as a result of failed rockets launches in populated areas. As a result of these misleading reports, the rise of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment around the world increased during and in the aftermath of Operation Protective Edge.

Har Nof Attack:

Blatant failures by the international media to report accurately on the situation were evident in the reporting of this attack. Here is what some of the leading news providers had to say:

  • CBC: “Jerusalem police fatally shoot 2 after apparent synagogue attack,” without making note that those “2” were the terrorists who killed 5 Israelis.

  • BBC: Fails to call the attack a terrorist attack, rather choosing to state, “in what police say was ‘terrorist attack.’”

  • CNN: The headline “4 Israelis, 2 Palestinians killed in synagogue attack, Israeli police say,” equates the victims with the perpetrators, and calls into question the veracity of the Israeli police. On a CNN ticker, text mistakenly read: “deadly attack on Jerusalem mosque” which completely misled viewers and caused irreparable damage to Israel.

  • Reuters: The headline, “Suspected Palestinian Attack” failed to call the incident an act of terror.

  • The New York Times: The headline, “Israel Shaken by 5 Deaths in Synagogue Assault,” also grotesquely included the terrorists in the death toll with the victims while failing to call the incident an act of terror.

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