October 8, 2013

The US

Headline: Russia and U.S. agree on how Syria should eliminate chemical arms

To Read: James Clad and Robert A. Manning take a look at the major differences between the end of the British interventionalism in the 60's and the touted end of American engagement in the world-

All empires have succumbed to their siren call. Now it’s our turn to approach an inflection point.

The outcome is not fated, and we differ from British experience in important ways. Like diamonds amid the dust, some advantages unexpectedly have appeared, favoring a maintenance of U.S. power despite deflating experiences in the Middle East and elsewhere. Pioneered in North America, the Shale Revolution in particular offers a lifeline, fundamentally altering the geopolitics of energy.

Quote: “Seeing some suggestions that one of our military ops wasn’t successful. We knocked on al-Shabaab’s front door. They shouldn’t sleep easy”, Pentagon Spokesperson George Little describing the recent Lybian operation on Twitter.

Number: 11, the approval rate for congress amid the government shutdown.



Headline: Hundreds of thousands turn out for funeral of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

To Read: Ultra-Orthodox PR expert Yerach Toker describes the mood near Ovadia Yosef's death bed-

A secular person cannot understand it. It is difficult to explain the level of admiration the haredi public has for its religious leaders. I remember how when I was a child my father took me to receive the blessing of Rabbi Shach, the leader of the Lithuanian public, at his home in Bnei Brak. More than 20 years later, I can still feel his handshake and stroke on my cheek. I also took my children to receive a blessing from Rabbi Elyashiv and Rabbi Shteinman.

Every haredi man takes his children to the rabbi, the leader, at different stations in their lives. Not to learn anything – it is enough that they see him. The haredi street's admiration for these great men gives the child or teenager a purpose in life and allows him to come face to face with the big dream: To become a rabbi in Israel who studies and teaches Torah day and night.

Quote:  “You all know, and the world knows, that cooperation on all issues, on a day-to-day basis, is at 100%. The reason is simple: we want a completely normal atmosphere between Israelis and Palestine”, PA President Abbas commenting on the all-time high security cooperation with Israel and the prospects of an agreement.

Number: $3.4b, the annual amount of money that the Israeli occupation costs the Palestinians, according to the World Bank.


The Middle East

Headline: UN: Syrian refugees to top 5 million by 2015

To Read: Der Spiegel's Christoph Reuter writes about Assad's dirty PR war against the Syrian rebels-

 No other leader in the region — not Saddam Hussein in Iraq, nor Moammar Gadhafi in Libya — has relied as heavily on propaganda as Assad. His PR teams and state media are churning out a steady stream of partially or completely fabricated new stories about acts of terror against Christians, al-Qaeda's rise to power and the imminent destabilization of the entire region. These stories are circulated by Russian and Iranian broadcasters, as well as Christian networks, and are eventually picked up by Western media.

Quote:  “I don’t regard Bashar Assad as a politician anymore. A person who killed 110,000 of his own people is a terrorist”, Turkish PM Erdogan saying some harsh words about Assad.

Number: 9, at least nine Egyptian policemen and soldiers were killed yesterday as the turmoil in continues.


The Jewish World

Headline: Discordant Shas faces possible schism after Yosef’s death

To Read: Adam Kirsch writes an interesting review of Jonathan Franzen's new book of translations of (and of commentary about) the works of Jewish Intellectual Karl Kraus-

In this way, by crooked paths, Kraus argues that the debasement of German literature, its addiction to sensationalism and sentimentality, can be laid at Heine’s door. Whether this is fair to Heine is beside the point. Kraus’ whole life was dedicated to attacking what he saw as the shallowness of Viennese culture, and since so many of the sponsors and creators of that culture were Jewish, he inevitably ended up sounding like half an anti-Semite. (That he was besotted by the aristocracy and eventually converted to Catholicism only increases the impression.) Reitter’s notes sensitively convey the many nuances of this situation, arguing that what really infuriated Kraus was the failure of his fellow German Jewish writers to do enough with their privileged position.

Quote:  “There was a story in my home country, France, about the young Ilan Halimi who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by a gang who assumed that he 'had money' because he was a Jew”, Director Sasha Andreas, commenting on the difficulty he faced trying to finance a documentary film on Jewish poverty.

Number: 40, the number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in Denmark in 2012- almost twice more than in 2009.

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