April 21, 2013

The US

Headline: Hagel: Israel, US See 'Exactly Same' Iran Threat

To Read: David Remnick offers a well written profile of the Tsarnaev family:

The Tsarnaev family had been battered by history before—by empire and the strife of displacement, by exile and emigration. Asylum in a bright new land proved little comfort. When Anzor fell sick, a few years ago, he resolved to return to the Caucasus; he could not imagine dying in America. He had travelled halfway around the world from the harrowed land of his ancestors, but something had drawn him back. The American dream wasn’t for everyone. What they could not anticipate was the abysmal fate of their sons, lives destroyed in a terror of their own making. The digital era allows no asylum from extremism, let alone from the toxic combination of high-minded zealotry and the curdled disappointments of young men.  

Quote: “Israel and the U.S. see the threat of Iran in exactly the same” way, Hagel said. “So I don’t think there’s any daylight there. When you break down into the specifics of the timing of when and if Iran decides to pursue a nuclear weapon, there may well be some differences but generally I believe our intelligence is generally very close to each other”, Chuck Hagel about the Iranian nuclear threat.

Number: $123m, the additional amount of money the US has decided to give the Syrian rebels.



Headline: ‘Israel seeks Turkish airbase to enable Iran strike’

To Read: According to veteran journalist Dan Margalit, we might never really know how serious Netanyahu is about the two state solution:

In Israel, the population is deeply divided on the question of whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu really means it when he says that he wants a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There are those who think he is playing a hand of diplomatic poker and will actually never sign an agreement, certainly not with the make-up of the current coalition. Others, however, who say that when it comes to the moment of truth, if he is presented with a real proposal, he will clear the hurdles and sign an agreement.

In actuality, it appears that whatever the case, the conduct of the Palestinian side will prevent this from ever being put to the test.

Quote: “While no steps have been taken to lift the severe restrictions or to amend the rights of the Palestinians who are oppressed, these meetings for compensation are an insult to our martyrs”, Cigdem Topcuoglu, widow of one of the Turkish casualties of the flotilla incident, explaining her refusal to discuss compromise with Israel.

Number:  15,591 passengers, the number of passengers who are going to be effected today by the El-Al strike at Ben Gurion airport.


The Middle East

Headline: Egypt's Morsi plans to reshuffle cabinet

To Read: Jean Loup- Samaan takes a look at the situation and origins of Syria's fragmented opposition:

This fragmentation of the opposition may be one of the legacies of the regime of Hafez al-Assad, father of the current president. The popular narrative that paints the Assad government as a mere sectarian regime ruled by an Alawite minority oppressing a Sunni majority is a strawman that ignores the complexities of Syrian power struggles. Both father and son maintained their hold on power by engaging the various parts of Syria's communities, including the Sunni bourgeoisie in Damascus and Aleppo and some elements of the Kurdish autonomists in the north. The elder Assad’s calculus shaped a trans-sectarian community of interests and privileges that benefited from the regime and that effectively divided his potential competitors. He assembled a caste composed of his Alawite relatives but also of opportunistic allies to help him pre-empt any insurgence from one or several communities.

Quote: “There is no solution with this regime through negotiation. This (conflict) will not be settled other than by force”, Syrian Rebel military chief Selim Idris about the prospects of negotiations with the Assad regime.

Number: 8, the number of Syrian refugees Jordanian authorities have arrested for inciting riots.


The Jewish World

Headline: Poland's 'generation unexpected' leads resurgence of Jewish culture

To Read: Reform Rabbi Dana Evan Kaplan has some reservations about the way his movement lacks clear voice and vision about some very vital issues-

As rabbis’ attitudes toward the intermarriages of their congregants have evolved, they have reevaluated their own partnering choices.  More rabbis have themselves emerged from intermarried families and they see how many of their Jewish friends also come from homes with only one Jewish parent.  If it was good enough for my parents and my friends, some will reason, it is also good enough for me.  If the Reform movement is essentially a sociological construct, then what the masses are doing defines normative behavior and legitimately serves to guide the rabbinic decision-making process.  But if that is the process by which Reform Judaism continues to evolve, I believe it will fail as an American religious movement.  

Quote: “We knew the end would be the same for everyone. The idea for the uprising came from our determination. We wanted to choose the kind of death we would die, that’s all”, Simcha Rotem, one of the last remaining survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, describing his memories.

Number: 80, the high-end estimation of the number of bounty hunters who hunted for Jews in WW2 Netherland.

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