A Guardian blogger has been crunching some numbers, counting how often the paper mentioned which countries in 2010. The UK comes first, of course: it's a British paper. The US comes second, which is a no-brainer. Next come Afghanistan and Iraq, two countries in which there have been or still are fighting British troops, so the interest in them is arguably local. China, the world's largest country and its economic motor in 2010, is the first really foreign country on the list, at 5th place.
Then comes.... Israel.
Ahead of all the rest of the world. Ahead of next door Ireland, the country with the frightening banking crises. Ahead of South Africa with the World Cup. Way ahead of Haiti, where nothing ever happens, not to mention Sri Lanka with its wars, rigged elections and large refugee camps. Congo (remember? The country with millions of casualties in the world's bloodiest war since 1945?) - Congo gets mentioned about one ninth as often as Israel.
Belarus, the last Soviet dictatorship in Europe, with a stolen election and no human rights to speak of, is hardly on the list at all.