U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both won re-election victories in the past year but while the men in office didn’t change in Washington or Jerusalem, the worlds around them convulsed.
Obama’s victory was seen as vindication for his agenda, and he moved quickly to try to advance specific issues: gay marriage, immigration, health care and gun control. The mass shooting at a school in Newtown, Conn., seemed to galvanize the country on gun control, but efforts to pass new legislation failed.
Another massive tragedy, the Boston Marathon bombings, returned terrorism to U.S. soil with a bloody vengeance.
And while Israel didn’t experience a new wave of terrorism, the Jewish state confronted increasing violence at its doorstep with the overthrow of Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi and the apparent chemical weapons attack by Syrian President Bashar Assad. The election of a new president in Iran did little to assuage Israel about its nuclear intentions. In addition, Netanyahu had to cope internally with the revived negotiations with the Palestinians pushed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, though no one in Israel or the United States seems too optimistic about the outcome.
Then there is the turmoil surrounding Women of the Wall, who want to daven equally at the Western Wall with men, and the counter-demonstrations by the group Women for the Wall, who want to maintain the status quo.
One bright spot in all this strife and danger? Waze, the Israeli navigational company whose app is all the rage, was bought by Google for a sum that was said to be slightly more than $1 billion.
See photos of the most significant global events in the accompanying photo gallery.
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And tell us with your comments what you think the top stories of the past Jewish year were.