April 23, 2013

The US

Headline: Syria, Afghanistan on agenda as Kerry attends first NATO meeting as US secretary of state

To Read: The case of the Tsarnaev brothers may illustrate Olivier Roy's thesis which says that the vast majority of islamist (and even al Qaeda) terrorists are not part of Muslim communities and are not even religious:

The main motivation is not religious. Most of the guys, they were normal, they were not especially religious. One of them who went to Tehran became religious. It is not the process of Islamicization, through going to mosque, through studying the Koran. They go for action, they take the al Qaeda thing because If you do that in name of Al Qaeda, you will have a far hotter act than if you do that in the name of something else. They are disconnected in fact from the Muslim community. Many security officials thought the best way to spot these guys was to use the local Muslim communities to control the radical mosques, to engage mainstream imams to ask for help. And most of them comply with that, they want to help but they can’t comply because they guys are not part of these communities. They are loners. And that is the big problem of Muslim mainstream communities. They don’t know what to do. Strictly speaking, they have no access to these guys. That’s a big problem.

Quote: “Israel is a model for the world”, Chuck Hagel, going a bit beyond the normal mandatory signs of affection toward Israel.

Number:  $4.7 billion, the amount of money the Pentagon is going to spend on cyber-operations in 2014.



Headline: Morsi: Don’t expect improvement in Israel ties

To Read: Fania Oz-Salzberger writes about the multi-layered ways in which Israelis look at the US (and vice versa):

When Americans look at Israel and recognize something of themselves, they must always come to terms with our other chromosomes, too. Israel’s often infuriating way of sticking by its own devices is strangely attractive in American eyes. That attraction is made up, in unequal parts, of Christian Israelophilia, democratic affinity (at times oblivious of democratic deficits), and the well-earned status of Jewish Americans. If you think Israel is America’s puppet—a mistake made by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his ilk—you’d better think again. It is precisely Israel’s chutzpah, its refusal to emulate or obey, that reminds Americans of their own deep spirit. Israel would make a lousy puppet state. We are too hardheaded for that. Pigheaded, some would argue, but this is too tactless a metaphor.

Quote:  “I post on Shabbat because I don't keep the Sabbath. I'm not telling you what to do on the Sabbath and you won't tell me”, Yair Lapid's passionate diatribe against ultra-orthodox politicians, yesterday at the Knesset.

Number: 30, the percent cut in Yeshiva funding which the treasury announced yesterday.


The Middle East

Headline: Israel military official: Syria has used chemical weapons

To Read: Michael J. Totten reports about the encouraging prospects of the collapse of Hezbollah in Lebanon, a glimmer of optimism in the eternally bleak and pessimistic Middle-East:

But I’m finding a bit of homegrown optimism in some quarters of Lebanon now, despite the fact that the economy is on its back and the Syrian war threatens to blow the country to pieces again, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t report it. The place has a serious case of the jitters and everyone knows this summer will be the third bad one in a row, but the medium and long term might be a little bit better, at least for some.

Though not for Hezbollah. No, the medium and long term for Hezbollah looks bleaker than ever. That crowd still refuses to speak to me, but I did sit down and talk to three dissident members of Lebanon’s Shia community from which Hezbollah draws its support. They all think the so-called Party of God has begun its long journey downward.

Quote: “They did not understand the power of our resistance. They thought that by a small change in the foreign exchange rate, Iran’s economy would collapse. But as time goes on, they realize that Iran is adapting and we are changing threats into opportunities…The Iranian people are determined to follow the nuclear route”, Seyed Shamseddin Hosseini, Iranian minister of economic affairs and finance, claiming that sanctions will not deter Iran.

Number: 18, the number of Hezbollah fighters who were reportedly killed by the Free Syrian Army in Qusayr.


The Jewish World

Headline: Netanyahu backs Sharansky’s Western Wall plan

To Read: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach believes that the America's 'turn the other cheek' and  'love your enemies' Christian attitude toward terrorists should be qualified with some old-fashioned  old Testament hatred-

Hatred is a valid emotion, an appropriate response, when directed at the truly evil. Contrary to Christianity, which advocates turning the other cheek to belligerence and loving the wicked, Judaism obligates us to despise and resist evil at every turn. In my book “Kosher Jesus” I explain that Jesus said to “love your enemies,” not God’s enemies. The former are those who steal your parking space. The latter are those engaged in genocide. Likewise, when Jesus said “turn the other cheek,” he meant to petty slights and insults, not to mass murder.

Quote: “The speed, with which Chancellor Merkel responded to this most urgent matter, first pledging and then delivering an agreeable solution which protected the religious practices of both the Jewish and Muslim communities in Germany, was received with relief and gratitude by faith groups in Germany, Europe and the world”, the Conference of European Rabbis praising Angela Merkel, recipient of the 2013 Lord Jakobovits Prize for European Jewry.

Number: 10,000, the record number of Hungarians who participated in yesterday's march of the living.

Did you enjoy this article?
You'll love our roundtable.

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

More news and opinions than at a
Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.