August 11, 2013

The US

Headline: U.S. to reopen 18 of the 19 embassies, consulates closed because of terror threats

To Read: Doyle McManus examines the reasons for the US' lack of leverage in the Arab world-

If the United States could be expected to have influence over any institution in the Arab world, it would be the government of Egypt, which collects $1.6 billion a year in American aid.

But two factors have diminished the leverage that the United States once gained by doling out foreign aid: less money and more competition.

Quote: “I think we saw more rhetoric on the Russian side that was anti-American, that played into some of the old stereotypes about the Cold War contest between the United States and Russia”, President Obama commenting on the recent tensions between the US and Russia and on President Putin's role in them.

Number: 68, the percentage of Americans who believe that the media 'keeps political leaders from doing things that should not be done'.



Headline: PM Netanyahu recovering after surgery

To Read: Mira Sucharov writes about a provocative Israeli mayor who excuses his public exclusionary attitude toward Arabs by claiming that 'If I'm racist then so is Israel'-

But those pull factors also suggest a darker side, the side of ethno-nationalism. Hardline Zionists like to emphasize that Israel should not be compared to the multicultural landscape of Canada or to the melting pot of America. Jewish nationalism at root implies a certain exclusionary quality, they argue. And maybe Gapso is right. Maybe it is the sheltered liberals who are trying to have their Tea Nana and drink it too. Perhaps Zionism should be recognized for what it is: an experiment in Jewish nationalism that is unavoidably exclusionary.

Quote:  “That means that we’ll never be neutral and that Israel can be sure of our support when it comes to ensuring its security. That’s why I also said that Germany’s support for Israel’s security is part of our national ethos, our raison d’être”, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, talking to a Jewish Newspaper about Israel.

Number:  1,187, the Israeli government anounced it will issue tenders 1,187 Jewish homes behind the 1967 lines.


The Middle East

Headline: Egypt's top sheikh begins mediation efforts

To Read: David Ignatius is still optimistic about democracy in the Middle East-

The counterrevolution is gathering momentum in the Arab world, two years after the uprisings that toppled rulers in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has fought back brutally to preserve his dictatorship; Egypt’s generals ousted the Muslim Brotherhood government there. The men in the tanks seem to be winning the day.

Yet I’d be surprised if the Arab revolutions were permanently stalled. The forces that are undermining dictatorial rule are embedded in technology; a society where anyone can tweet a message or post a cellphone video will have difficulty repressing its citizens indefinitely.

Quote:  “We estimate that the real figure… is double the figure documented by the Observatory due to extreme secrecy that both sides in the conflict maintain on their casualties”, the Britain based watchdog organization, 'The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights', claiming that the death toll in Syria might be closer to 200,000 than to the standard estimations of around 100,000.

Number: $80-100m, the amount of Money which Bayti Real Estate Investment Company, the firm which is building the new Palestinian city of Rawabi, spends annually in Israel.


The Jewish World

Headline: Beitar Jerusalem to start keeping Shabbat

To Read: Rabbi Jonathan Sacks explains the reason why real prophecies made by legitimate prophets don't necessarily come true in the bible-

A prophet is not an oracle: a prophecy is not a prediction. Precisely because Judaism believes in free will, the human future can never be unfailingly predicted. People are capable of change. God forgives. As we say in our prayers on the High Holy Days: “Prayer, penitence and charity avert the evil decree.” There is no decree that cannot be revoked. A prophet does not foretell. He warns. A prophet does not speak to predict future catastrophe but rather to avert it. If a prediction comes true it has succeeded. If a prophecy comes true it has failed.

Quote:   “Had to get some challah bread so you can holla back and holla that/My Jewish lawyer too enjoyed the fruit of letting my cash stack”, a quote by Rapper Jay-Z, one of many quotes featured in a crazy compilation of rappers shouting out to their Jewish lawyers. 

Number: 78,000, the number of Ethiopian Falasha Jews who have immigrated to Israel since 1980.

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