What a year. We started with the war in Gaza, and ended with a rash of terror attacks in the West Bank. And in between there was the water shortage, the Goldstone report, posturing and threats between Israel and Iran, and endless and bitter bargaining over the release of Gilad Shalit.
It was also, however, a year in which the Israeli economy weathered the global financial storm in extremely good shape, when new Israeli innovations in health and technology made good on the world markets, when Israeli charities gave life-saving aid to developing nations, and when Israel’s financial and technological success was finally recognized worldwide.
So what did our viewers enjoy reading the most in 2009? Well, the choice was as diverse as the year, ranging from the serious – the humanitarian aid webcam at the crossing into Gaza during the war, to the sublime – a YouTube mash created by an Israeli musician, and of course the ridiculous – the Bollywood style advert created by missile maker Rafael for the Indian market.
And, let’s face it, you all love to read about sex, scandals and supermodels as well.
Check out Israelity’s top 10 stories of 2009 below.
1. Foto Friday – Sexy Tel Aviv
In July, Rachel wrote a piece about gay clubbing in Tel Aviv during the hot summer months. The city has a lively gay scene and it abounds with great dance clubs and bars. Combine that with the great weather, and you’ve got a wild night out. Check out David Shankbone’s pictures in this post to see for yourself.
2. Israeli model Esti Ginzberg shot in New York
Fed up with all the hype about Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli (yes, yes, the one who dated Leonardo DiCaprio), in March Harry decided it was time to write about a different supermodel – an upcoming one.
Esti Ginzberg, is a Tel Aviv teenager who featured in 2009′s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, and carried out modeling campaigns for international chains like Tommy Hilfiger and Pull and Bear. She’s been featured on the cover of the French version of Elle Magazine, and this year also became a Victoria’s Secret model.
Not long ago, Ginzberg joined the IDF for two years of army service. Check out our video interview with Ginzberg in uniform on YouTube.
3. Human body parts invade Haifa
It’s created controversy wherever it went on show. Israel proved to be no different. As David pointed out in March, the exhibition, Body Worlds, by German anatomist Gunther von Hagens, raised hackles with Israel’s religious community the moment it went on show in Haifa.
The exhibition, of human anatomical specimens which use plastic to replace the fat and water in human body parts, has been seen by over 26 million people around the world. In Israel, the Haredi population protested the opening, and rumors abounded that Michael Jackson had asked von Hagens if he too could be plastinated when he died – an event that most likely came much sooner than he expected.
4. Humanitarian aid webcam Gaza
In January, right in the midst of the Gaza conflict, the IDF decided to start operating a live feed of the Keren Shalom border crossing – the largest checkpoint between Israel and Gaza – showing humanitarian aid being transferred to the Palestinians.
Karin, who interviewed Peter Lerner, an IDF spokesperson working at the border crossing, wrote a blog post on the news with a link to the webcam, which operated for three hours every day, during the daily ceasefire.
5. Bar Refaeli proof that Israel is a land of wonder
She’s inescapable. Bar Refaeli made the headlines again and again and again this year. Either for upsetting the Haredi with her revealing ad campaigns , for appearing on the side of an airliner, or – in May –, for being voted the third “hottest” woman in the world by men’s mag Maxim.
Under her picture, the editors wrote: “If there’s any evidence that the Middle East is a land of beauty and wonder – not just unending turbulence – Bar is it.” Amazing what a pretty face can do. Not sure Refaeli is the right ambassador, however.