Wikipedia, the free Internet encyclopedia, seized on the end of 2012 as an opportunity to release lists of the most popular articles of the past year in more than 35 languages.
In first place in Wikipedia in English, the most popular Wikipedia site in the world, was the entry for Facebook, with more than 36 million viewings in 2012.
The top 10 also included several articles about the entertainment world: The British boys' band One Direction was number four (22 million viewings ), the book "50 Shades of Gray" was in sixth place (21 million viewings ), "The Dark Knight Rises" was in eighth place (nearly 19 million viewings ) and "The Hunger Games" closed the top 10 with a bit more than 18,000 viewings.
But the most popular searches in the Hebrew Wikipedia reveal an entirely different picture from the English version. The leading topics were entries in the field of diplomacy and politics, not entertainment.
The word "Israel" itself was actually in the lead, with a view count of nearly half a million. Immediately after the entry for Israel came the article on the United States of America (300,000 viewings ) and then former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (277,000 ).
Surprisingly, the word "zipper" appeared in fourth place, with 266,000 hits, apparently in response to the doodle on the Google search engine's home page in April to mark the birthday of its inventor.
The top 10 were rounded out by former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion (260,000 ), Jerusalem (258,000 ), Facebook (254,000 ), Theodor Herzl (186,000 ), New York (185,000 ) and current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (184,000 ).
Arab surfers were most interested last year in famous people from the ancient Muslim world. Though the most widely viewed entry was the one on Egypt, with more than 3.2 million viewings, it was immediately followed by Egypt's Mohammed Ali Pasha - the commander of the Ottoman army who ruled Egypt and Sudan in the 19th century. Next came Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second caliph and one of the founders of the Muslim empire in the 7th century, and then Suleiman the Magnificent, the 16th-century Ottoman sultan who, among other things, built the walls of Jerusalem.
Quite a number of countries posted surprising results this past year. In Iran, the most frequently read articles were Tehran, Iran, the entry titled "Wikipedia," and Nowruz (the Persian new year ), alongside the articles on sex, female circumcision and homosexuality. In Japan the most popular article of the past year was about a porn actress.
The Italians, oddly enough, flocked to the page on the American television series "Grey's Anatomy," while in Germany, people looked up the American television series "How I Met Your Mother," "Game of Thrones" and "The Big Bang Theory."
Wikipedia is operated only by Internet users, and is extremely popular worldwide.
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