man reading a copy of  the UAE-based The National newspaper regarding the UAE-Israel agreement
A man in Dubai reads local newspaper The National, a day after the Israel-UAE agreement was announced
Photo: AFP
L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House

Peace, pandemic and politics: Our top 20 of 2020

As one of most significant years in Israel's history draws to a close, Ynetnews takes a look at what you were reading - from normalization with Muslim states to earthshattering coronavirus crisis and almost inevitable fourth election campaign

Sara Miller |
Published: 12.31.20 , 22:47
The past year has often felt like a decade as the world hunkered down to fight the highly contagious coronavirus whose name became all too familiar to billions; millions lost their lives or saw some loved ones perish as COVID-19 spread wildly across the entire planet.
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  • But for Israel, there was some good news too as it struggled to contain the virus, when four Muslim nations agreed to normalize ties and opened the door to trade, tourism and friendship.
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
    L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
    L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
    (Photo: AFP)
    Domestic stories also dominated the headlines, with the promised political unity failing to materialize, sending the country into its fourth election campaign in two years, while Israelis were left reeling over the gang rape of a teenage girl in the resort city of Eilat.
    Local met global with pride of Israel Gal Gadot returning to the silver screen not only as Wonder Woman - a role she has made her own - but she also sparked controversy with a plan to star in a Cleopatra biopic.
    These are the 20 stories that most captivated Ynetnews readers in 2020:

    The IDF announced another military marvel in January - an interception system to down targets ranging from mortar fire and drones to Grad rockets and long-range missiles that is also much more cost-efficient than the current favorite Iron Dome
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    הדמיית פעילות לייזר ליירוט רקטות וטילים
    הדמיית פעילות לייזר ליירוט רקטות וטילים
    Illustration of the laser defense system
    (Photo: Defense Ministry)

    CEOWORLD business magazine in February ranked Israel as more costly to live in than Hong Kong, the U.K. and U.S., using cost of living, rental prices, store prices, restaurant costs and purchasing power to make its calculations
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    Shoppers in a Tel Aviv supermarket
    Shoppers in a Tel Aviv supermarket
    Shoppers in a Tel Aviv supermarket
    (Photo: Archive)

    The dangers of the coronavirus pandemic truly began to sink in Israel in March as the infection rate climbed and the government began to consider what was once unthinkable - essentially shutting down the country to combat the spread of a virus
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    טיילת תל אביב ריקה בשבת בבוקר
    טיילת תל אביב ריקה בשבת בבוקר
    Police officers on a deserted Tel Aviv street as Israelis began to hunker down
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)

    The sight of ibex strolling down the beachfront promenade in Israel's resort city of Eilat in March shocked the locals, for as humans retreated to their homes, wildlife stepped out of the shadows and returned to the habitats they once ruled
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    Ibex on the promenade in Eilat
    Ibex on the promenade in Eilat
    Ibex on the promenade in Eilat
    (Photo: Screenshot)

    The Duke of Sussex made headlines in March for an unexpected reason, as the Daily Mail reported that he had drawn ire of British Muslims when he agreed in principle to include an Israeli delegation in the 2022 Invictus Games, his multi-sport event for wounded soldiers
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    Prince Harry meeting with British veterans of the war on Afghanistan
    Prince Harry meeting with British veterans of the war on Afghanistan
    Prince Harry meeting with British veterans of the war on Afghanistan
    (Photo: PA Photos)

    An extended period of political uncertainty seemed set to come to an end in April, as Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue &White leader Benny Gantz signed an agreement to share power in a 32-member government, the largest in Israel's history, with both men touting unity as the country was wracked by the coronavirus crisis
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    חתימה על ממשלת אחדות
    חתימה על ממשלת אחדות
    Blue & White leader Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sign their unity deal in Jerusalem

    With temperatures around the country averaging at unseasonable 40°C, environmental experts warned in May that greenhouse gas emissions were causing the extreme weather and that the side effects from atmospheric damage would be severe
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    גמלים במדבר יהודה
    גמלים במדבר יהודה
    Camels in the Judean Desert
    (Photo: Yair Paz)

    Parents at a Ra'anana middle school were in uproar in May after their daughters were barred from entering the grounds for 'violating' the dress code with summer attire during a heatwave, despite boys being allowed to wear the similar clothing
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    תלמידות בחטיבת הביניים אלון ברעננה לא הורשו להיכנס לכיתות בטענה כי המכנסים איתם הגיעו קצרים מדיי
    תלמידות בחטיבת הביניים אלון ברעננה לא הורשו להיכנס לכיתות בטענה כי המכנסים איתם הגיעו קצרים מדיי
    The girls who were kept out of class for violating school dress code

    Another girl, this time in Petah Tikva, found herself in trouble at school over her attire in May, when her teacher made her remove the sleeveless dress she was wearing and spend the day in a borrowed t-shirt and her underwear. The girl's furious mother sued the school and moved her daughter to a different educational institution
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    לפני ואחרי
    לפני ואחרי
    The girl's sleeveless dress was deemed unsuitable so her teacher made her sit in her underwear in the classroom
    (Photo: Courtesy)

    A family outing in southern Israel became a treasure hunt in May when a priceless tiny Canaanite clay impression depicting a victor holding his foe as prisoner caught the eye of Imri Elya, who was rewarded for his sharp eyes with a certificate of good citizenship
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    הלוחית
    הלוחית
    The ancient tablet found by Imri Elya
    (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority)

    As more evidence emerged about human to animal COVID-19 transmission, Israeli officials embarked on an unusual conservation effort in May, with inspectors enforcing social distancing between visitors and wildlife in nature reserves around the country
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    נשפון גדות
    נשפון גדות
    A long-fingered bat in one of Israel's caves
    (Photo: Israel Nature and Parks Authority)

    As hints of potential agreements between Israel and Arab nations began to emerge, the UAE Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef Al Otaiba in June sent Jerusalem a clear warning about claiming sovereignty over West Bank land, writing in Ynet's sister paper Yedioth Ahronoth that 'annexation will certainly and immediately upend Israeli aspirations for improved security, economic and cultural ties with the Arab world and with UAE'
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    הפגנה מחאה שמאל נגד סיפוח שטחים דמוקרטיה כיכר רבין תל אביב
    הפגנה מחאה שמאל נגד סיפוח שטחים דמוקרטיה כיכר רבין תל אביב
    A protest in Tel Aviv against Israel's plan to annex parts of the West Bank
    (Photo: AFP)

    The controversial rapper kicked off his short-lived and chaotic presidential bid in July by saying he would keep abortion legal if elected - and then proposed offering women massive grants for every child they carried to term, with Israel funding the program in Africa
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    Kanye West performing in Tel Aviv in 2015
    Kanye West performing in Tel Aviv in 2015
    Kanye West performing in Tel Aviv in 2015
    (Photo: Yaron Brener)

    August brought grim reports of a brutal assault on a girl in Israel's resort city, with MKs, the prime minister and women's rights groups expressing their shock at the assault, which allegedly saw dozens of men line up to attack the 16-year-old girl in a hotel room
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    Protesters in Tel Aviv over mass rape of a 16-year-old girl carry a banner reading: You are not alone
    Protesters in Tel Aviv over mass rape of a 16-year-old girl carry a banner reading: You are not alone
    Protesters in Tel Aviv after the Eilat gang rape of a 16-year-old girl. The banner reads: You are not alone
    (Photo: Itay Blumenthal)

    While the world - including Israel - scrambled to assist Lebanon after the devastating August explosion at Beirut's port, ex-minister Moishe Feiglin caused fury with comments apparently mocking the tragedy and implying that it had been caused by explosives stored at the site that had been intended to be used against Israel
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    The aftermath of the explosion in Beirut port
    The aftermath of the explosion in Beirut port
    The aftermath of the explosion in Beirut port
    (Photo: Getty Images)

    In a follow up to his first piece, UAE diplomat Yousef Al Otaiba in August hailed his country's new agreement with Israel, calling it a gateway to a better future across the Middle East, better opportunities for the young and a breakdown of long-held prejudices
    20 צפייה בגלריה
     man reading a copy of  the UAE-based The National newspaper regarding the UAE-Israel agreement
     man reading a copy of  the UAE-based The National newspaper regarding the UAE-Israel agreement
    A man in Dubai reads local newspaper The National, a day after the Israel-UAE agreement was announced
    (Photo: AFP)

    Dr. Gadi Segal, who headed the country's first COVID-19 ward, urged Israelis in emotional Facebook post in September to take the pandemic seriously, warning patients would die due to other people's lack of responsibility and refusal to accept the dangers of the pathogen
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    Coronavirus department head Dr. Gadi Segal
    Coronavirus department head Dr. Gadi Segal
    Coronavirus ward director Dr. Gadi Segal
    (Photo: Courtesy of Sheba Medical Center)

    Tzipi Refaeli agreed to serve a 16-month term in a plea deal over tax evasion in September, while her supermodel daughter agreed to pay a NIS 2.5 million fine and do nine months of community service
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    יום הולדת ציפי רפאלי
    יום הולדת ציפי רפאלי
    Tzipi and Bar Refaeli
    (Photo: Amir Meiri)

    Israel's biggest-ever movie star caught the attention of YouTube channel 'Reface' in October, as it celebrated the news that she would be playing the Egyptian queen by laying her face over that of movie legend Elizabeth Taylor from the 1963 classic film about the iconic royal

    December saw newly formed ties between Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem further cemented with a colorful Jewish marriage celebration possible due to the Gulf state's lax virus guidelines. The event caught the attention of curious locals, some of whom came to watch the proceedings in traditional Arab attire
    20 צפייה בגלריה
    The happy couple at their Dubai wedding
    The happy couple at their Dubai wedding
    The happy couple at their Dubai wedding

    The Ynetnews team wishes all our readers a happy and healthy 2021!
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