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Erez Rotem, JNF emissary for the Prairie Region, and former Channel 2 news reporter for Israeli Television.

Canada, Israel Ranked highest in internet usage

The Question is Why? Erez Rotem offers reasons regarding Israel's high intenet usage

By Rhonda Spivak, January 12, 2011

According to  a recent article in  Shalom Life, A study released by the private online data compiling firm, comScore Inc., shows that Canadians spend more time online than any other nation.(

The study indicates that Canadian users logged an average of more than 2,500 minutes online a month, totaling almost 42 hours. The study also concluded that Canada has the largest number of Internet users per capita, with 68%.
Israel was second, right behind Canada, ith an average of around 2,300 minutes.

The data compiled by comScore, shows that 71% of internet users visit Youtube each month.

"In Canada, YouTube per capita consumption of video is No. 1 in the world. It's just absolutely crazy in terms of how passionate Canadians are about YouTube," said Chris O'Neill, Canada's country director for Google, as quoted in an article in  Shalom Life. 

Similairly, approximately 83% of the online population has accounts on the social networking site, Facebook.
There are a number of theories to expalin why Canada and Israel have the highest online usage. 
"When it comes to communication, when it comes to Facebook, when it comes to a lot of these web 2.0 tools, community-based, Canadians are really highly sophisticated," stated comScore's Canadian VP Bryan Segal. "We are content-heavy and media-heavy, and I think that is one of the great things about our country," he said.
The comScore study also pointed out that other popular sites amongst Canadian users include Wikipedia, Twitter, and 

The Winnipeg Jewish Review asked former news reporter for Israeli Television and JNF Emissary for the  Prairie Region Erez Rotem to give possible explantations for  Israel's ranking second in internet usage.

Rotem listed several factors.

"First of all, Israel has the means necessary becasue we have a highly developed infrastructure, and internet is everywhere," he said, noting that thre more intenet is everywhere the higher the demand for it is.

As well, Rotem pointed out that this data reflects the fact  Israel is extremely developed in  high-tech industry." Israel is known as the "Start-up Nation", as recently outlined in  the book by Saul Singer.

"High-trech industry needs to have high speed internet to develop high-tech tools and products," siad Rotem, noting that Israel has developed technology relating to computers, blackberry's, and tools for cutting edge communication.

"Some of the most improtant tools for the net and for cellphones have been developed in  Israel," Rotem added." Israelis are constantly in touch with others for business reasons, as they export products around the world."

Israelis also have the highest per capita use of cellphones, and many access facebook through them.

Rotem explained  the social reason why Israells "feel the need to be connected all ofthe time" which is related to Israel's political situation, and the many external threats, hostilities and pressures it faces.

"Since many people have a child in the army, they want to be able to know how they are and if everything is alright at any given time and this means they  all have cell-phones and they all want to know the news immediately. That means they  go online to  get it," he said.

"We are the only nation in the Western World which faces threats of terrorism on a regular basis.Our history of boeng surrounded by many hostile states  is such that  we have had to face conflicts  that  can erupt very quickly. Israelis know that anything can happen any minutr in Israel, that can dramaticallty affect the political situation,and/or that could impact directly on them.  Israelis don't  wait until the evening to come home and see the day's news.  They want to be updated all the time.They check the news regularly throughout the day, which increases internet usage."

Rotem also said "I don't know anyone in Israel who doesn't have a cell phone and I know many people who have three. One for personal use. One for business and one for travelling abroad."

Rotem referred to the fact that Israel is the only country in the world where you will see the bus driver on a public bus turn on the radio hourly for the news which starts with " loud beeps."

"You will see people hush each other up so that everyone can hear the news. If people hear something that is of interest to them, then they get on their cell-phones and then on the internet,to learn more about what has happened" Rotem said.

Additionally, in th earmy, the need for immediate communication is heightened and therefore the army depends on high tech technologies such as internet.

"The same people that are technologically savy in the army later go on to develop tools and parts for  high-tech industry," he said.

Another factor that Rotem pointed out is that "Israelis care very much about what the world thinks of them, and they want to  know what other countries are saying about them.That means they are more likely to be surfing the net for this information."

There are  many different newspapers and news sites in Israel on the internet, which means that to get the daily news form Israel  Israeliswill have to surf several Israeli news sites, not just one or two.

 "Since Israelis are always using the internet and facebook to be updated on the latest news for political developments or for business, once they are there, they begin to use the internet for social reasons--to talk to friends,etc." Rotem said.

Rotem also referred to an article published in Haaretz   in March 2010, which reported that Israelis spend more time on Facebook than any other site.

Facebook's head of strategy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa  Trevor Johnson said  that Israelis spend over one billion minutes in total on Facebook every month, making  Facebook Israel's most popular site by a significant margin. In an interview with TheMarker, Johnson claimed that the total time Israelis spend on Facebook is more than the time they spend on Google, Walla, and YouTube combined

Israel’s love for Facebook has even caught the attention of the IDF. With so many Israeli soldiers using Facebook around th eclock, The  IDF has cautioned  Israeli soldiers against publishing sensitive information on social networking sites





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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.