The Top Stories of the Year: A Look Back at the Headlines That Made 2019

From Israel's first spacecraft attempting to land on the moon to multiple elections and Chinese internment camps, the top headlines of 2019

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Images from Haaretz's top stories.
Images from Haaretz's top stories. Credit: Reuters,

From Israel's first spacecraft attempting to land on the moon to an investigation into the state's attempt to systematically hide evidence of the Nakba to multiple elections and Chinese internment camps, Haaretz looks back at our most read stories over the past year. 

1. A million people are jailed at China's gulags. I managed to escape. Here's what really goes on inside

Rape, torture and human experiments. Sayragul Sauytbay offers firsthand testimony from a Xinjiang 'reeducation' camp. Click to read the full story 

2. If true, this could be one of the greatest discoveries in human history

The head of Harvard's astronomy department says what others are afraid to say about a peculiar object that entered the solar system. Later a team of international researchers said they were confident the cigar-shaped object called Oumuamua that was spotted in 2017 was not an alien spaceship. Click to read the full story 

3. 'Endless trip to hell': Israel jails hundreds of Palestinian boys a year. These are their testimonies

They’re seized in the dead of night, blindfolded and cuffed, abused and manipulated to confess to crimes they didn't commit. Every year Israel arrests almost 1,000 Palestinian youngsters, some of them not yet 13. Click to read the full story

4. Holocaust movies: 18 of the best beyond Schindler's List

Here is a list in no particular order of 18 other movies worth seeing, some for sharing, and yes, some for the joy of it. What won't you find on this list? Stephen Spielberg's 1993 epic "Schindler's List" – which turned twenty-five this year. Click to read the full story

5. A bumpy ride to the moon: Israeli spacecraft hits technical snag

Israel’s first spacecraft Genesis ("Beresheet" in Hebrew) was on its way to land on the moon but restarted on its own, cancelling a maneuver that would have advanced its course. Click to read the full story

6. Burying the Nakba: How Israel systematically hides evidence of 1948 expulsion of Arabs

Since early last decade, Defense Ministry teams have scoured local archives and removed troves of historic documents to conceal proof of the Nakba. Click to read the full story

7. Sex parties, drugs and gay escorts at the pope's residence: Undercover in the Vatican

French writer Frédéric Martel, whose new book exposes the sexual secrets of the Vatican, explains how the moral rot of the Catholic Church is rooted in its clergy's repressed homosexuality. Click to read the full story 

8. Is Pakistan preparing to recognize Israel?

Prime Minister Imran Khan and his military backers are giving unprecedented freedom to a highly-censored media to talk about establishing relations with Israel. 14 years to the day since the countries' only public bilateral meeting, are conditions now ripe for a formal move? Click to read the full story 

9.  In defeat, Netanyahu looks to Iran and Trump for salvation

In the aftermath of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's failure to secure a majority in Israel's second election in September, he spoke at a Likud rally in a carefully measured attempt to reassert his leadership, while acknowledging, without saying it in so many words, that things have changed. Click to read the full story

10. The fake Nazi death camp: Wikipedia’s longest hoax, exposed

For over 15 years, false claims that thousands of Poles were gassed to death in Warsaw were presented as fact. Haaretz reveals they are just the tip of an iceberg of a widespread Holocaust distortion operation by Polish nationalists. Click to read the full story 

11. Hurricanes to slam Mediterranean as global warming ramps up

When the 21st century winds down and the world warms, storms in the Mediterranean basin are going to become less frequent — but also more violent and protracted, according to a new climate model. Click to read the full story

12. What’s killing Israel’s lone soldiers?

Young Diaspora Jews account for only 2 percent of soldiers serving in the Israeli army, but in the past year the suicide rate among them has been disproportionately high. Haaretz investigates why. Click to read the full story

13. A war over the future of Judaism rages in this small Long Island community

West Hempstead’s Jews pride themselves on their ‘live and let live’ attitude — but their rabbis’ hard-line response to the LGBTQ community has infuriated many. An unbelievable tale of love, hate and shuls in kosher Chinese restaurants. Click to read the full story