Bus Bomb Disaster Averted

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BREAKING NEWS: As today’s roundup went to press, a bomb exploded on a Bat Yam bus. Alert passengers noticed the suspicious object and evacuated the bus before the bomb went off. A sapper was lightly injured by the blast. Details unfolding at YNet and the Jerusalem Post.

1. The 2013 Dishonest Reporting Awards: HonestReporting’s annual look at the year’s worst media coverage.

Dishonest Reporting Awards 2013

2. Big Media visited Bethlehem ahead of Christmas. See the stories and spin games below.

3. The latest documents leaked by Edward Snowden to The Guardian disclose that US and UK intelligence collaborated on electronic surveillance, with Israeli officials among the targets. According to Reuters, Israel’s playing down the affair. See also Amos Harel and Dan Margalit‘s takes.

Oh yeah, Ronen Bergman reports that the US even had an apartment with an unusual amount of electronic gear across the street from Ehud Barak’s office.

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4. The number of Palestinians killed in Syria since the civil war broke out is up to 1,807.

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Christians in the Holy Land

Are Bethlehem’s Christians losing a grip on their city?

The future of Christianity is gloomy,” he says to a gathering of journalists he has invited to his home . . . “The reasons are the escalations of emigration and the low rates of birth.”

But AFP blames Israel:

The Palestinian territories’ top tourist destination is a victim of the barrier which cuts off the town from nearby Jerusalem, just 10 kilometres away.

The Daily Telegraph looks at Bethlehem’s so-called “tourist war,” and the International Business Times, which points out that tourism industry took a big hit from this month’s winter storm. See also the Washington Post.

Tis the season for Mira Bar-Hillel’s blows of folly blaming Israel for the dwindling demographics of Christians in the Holy Land. The Independent columnist is going to find coal in her stockings thanks to chestnuts like this:

A Jewish town, Upper Nazareth, was established on a bluff above Nazareth with the aim of strangling and intimidating the historic city. Nazareth has survived due to the success of three hospitals, founded there by religious charities more than a century ago, and a dozen private schools, set up by religious orders before Israel’s creation for Christian and Muslim pupils.

Bar-Hillel also gave an unusual shout-out to another “expert” on Nazareth, Jonathan Cook. During the 2006 war in Lebanon, Cook blamed Israel for Hezbollah’s rockets falling on Nazareth.

For more commentary/analysis, see Ruthie Blum.

On the next page:

  • Academics keeping distance from ASA boycott.
  • Turkey to underwrite withheld US, Israeli support for UNESCO.
  • Al-Qaida muscles in on Palestinian refugee camp.

Continued on page 2


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