Among the more than six thousand blog posts published on The Times of Israel in 2013 were plenty of gems that sparkled. Posts galore that struck chords, tickled funny bones, spun great yarns, challenged assumptions, and expressed ideas more exquisitely than we could ourselves.

That’s what happens when hundreds of bloggers and thousands of readers get together to create the largest opinion platform in the Jewish world, a true Marketplace of Ideas on all things Jewish and Israeli.

When it comes to popularity ratings, the Web can be a capricious beast, and yet: looking at the 10 most widely read Times of Israel posts of the year offers a fascinating portrait of where our collective attention was focussed this year.

Here then is an end of year countdown of the year’s 10 most widely read posts:

10: A year with heart(s)

In May, David Brog, the Executive Director of Christians United For Israel, couldn’t resist comparing a gory video said to depict a Syrian rebel cutting out the heart of a slain soldier with the Israeli doctors who cracked open the chest of a Syrian toddler to surgically correct her heart defect. His post, A tale of two hearts, was widely read, shared and discussed, becoming the 10th most viewed post on The Times of Israel in 2013.

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9: Whose holy struggle is it?

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Dr. Qanta Ahmed, a U.S. doctor of Pakistani origin and a proud Muslim has published a number of posts about her feeling of kinship with the fate of Israel and the Jewish people, a message that touched many thousands of readers. In this viral post, Israel’s jihad is mine, Dr. Ahmed called on her moderate co-religionists to confront radical Islamist ideologues.

8: Wall to Wall blog posts

It’s a safe bet that the controversy over prayer arrangements at the Western Wall won’t go away any time soon, and in 2013 The Times of Israel become THE place to hash out the issue. There were dozens of posts and counter posts, and there was Jordan Soffer who wrote At the Kotel I lost the love of my life after experiencing what he found to be shocking violence and hatred one Friday morning.

Police escort Anat Hoffman holding a Torah scroll from the Western Wall, on July 12, 2010. (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Police escort Anat Hoffman holding a Torah scroll from the Western Wall, on July 12, 2010. (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

7: How much do we dislike Roger Waters?

Shmuley Boteach wasn’t alone in expressing contempt for the Pink Floyd has-been’s rants, but Rav Shmuley’s post, The anti-Semitic stench of Pink Floyd, employed no less than “rancid,” “desiccated soul,” and “balderdash” to nail just how hot and bothered many readers were over Waters’s anti-Israel broadside.

Roger Waters performs in Barcelona in 2011 (photo credit: Wikipedia Commons/Alterna2)

Roger Waters performs in Barcelona in 2011 (photo credit: Wikipedia Commons/Alterna2)

6: How much does Benji love Israel?

The amazing thing about Benji Lovitt‘s annual Independence Day post is that the number of things he loves about Israel is the exact same number as the years since the state’s establishment. Coincidence? We’ll let you be the judge. Check out 65 More Things I Love About Israel

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5: That’s no (Gray) Lady

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The paper of record triggered a Times of Israel record in 2013 with this post by Gilead Ini, senior research analyst at CAMERA. Ini was outraged at the paper for giving a platform to University of Pennsylvania professor Ian Lustick to advance his one state solution and he minced no words in New York Times op-ed: Wipe Israel off the map. Readers concurred. In the thousands.

4: The gaff heard round the world

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U.N. Watch’s Hillel Neuer delivered a story that could have easily fallen under the radar when he posted Hot mic catches UN interpreter saying anti-Israel votes are ‘a bit much’. Read the piece to find out why Bibi Netanyahu offered this woman a job.

3: Campus rage

Reasonable people can disagree. But when Hen Mazzig went on his StandWithUs speaking tour of U.S. colleges, he was bowled over by how unreasonable the discourse on Israel had become — including a shocking exchange about IDF soldiers (not) raping Palestinians. Mazzig told the world about it in An Israeli Soldier to American Jews: Wake up! and the world listened, shared, liked and commented.

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Not civil (Rage image via Shutterstock)

2: Who will take care of the Filipinos?

The typhoon that devastated the Philippines in November prompted Ari Abramowitz, ”Friends of Israel” Director at Keren HaYesod, to reach out, way, way out. His title, Why the Philippines? asked a deep philosophical question, but his post offered pure love and sympathy. And thousands of Filipinos, at home and abroad, read and shared. Many, like Mac Rivera, saw the post as a message from Israel: “Thank you Israel! Cant hold my tears while reading this heartfelt affirmation,” Mac wrote. Looking to shed a few tears of your own? Read those comments.

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1: From baby killers to ordinary folk, just like us

And finally, in the most widely read post of 2013, Sarah Tuttle Singer once again cut deep into the soft tissue. What kind of mom forgets her baby? This Mom achieved the near impossible by shaking readers out of their self-righteous indignation at those whose carelessness had fatal consequences for their own children. 

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So, what are you waiting for: Join the conversation!

A whopping big thanks to all who blogged, commented and shared in 2013, and a heartfelt invitation for the coming year: If you want to join the conversation, open a Times of Israel Blog.

Posted by Ops & Blogs editor Miriam Herschlag

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