January 29, 2013 | 3:52 am
Headline: US to expand role in Africa
To Read: Former US ambassador to the United Nations urges the senate to get as many answers from Hagel about Iran in his upcoming confirmation hearing-
The confirmation hearing for Chuck Hagel as defense secretary on Thursday will provide senators with a critical opportunity to probe the nominee's views on Iran's nuclear-weapons program. Let's hope the hearing is more illuminating than last week's listless hearing for John Kerry as secretary of state. Some enlightenment about the administration's attitude toward Iran in President Obama's second term would be helpful.
Quote: "President Obama is feeling quite frustrated because he rightly feels that he has done the right thing by Israel, but Israel is not responsive.", Martin Indyk, in an interview for Israeli radio, talking about Obama and Netanyahu's 'bad chemistry'.
Number: $50.5 billion, the sum of the Sandy-relief aid package cleared by the senate.
To Read: Moshe Arens describes some of the more 'rational' decisions Israeli voters made in recent elections-
There is no doubt that Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid profited from this way of thinking by more "rational" voters, who calculated that he would join a Netanyahu-led coalition and are expecting him to influence the coalition in the direction they would like to see it go. Some of Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett's supporters certainly chose not their "preferred" slate, Likud-Beiteinu, but rather a party that would influence the coalition according to their worldview. The merger of Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu's slates made this easier for them. This could explain the fact that in some settlements the number of card-carrying Likud members was larger than the number of Likud-Beiteinu voters.
Quote: “We will deal with that too, but my first commitment is to the Israeli middle class,” Lapid about the peace process.
Number: 4.7, the percent increase in the number of divorces in Israel in the past year.
The Middle East
To Read: Fouad Ajami contends that, despite all the chaos facing the Arab world, the west should not lament or fear the fall of dictatorships-
These were, on some level, prison riots that had erupted in the Arab world. The dictators had robbed these countries of political efficacy and skills; in the aftermath of the dictators, we were to see in plain sight the harvest of their terrible work. These rulers had been predators and brigands: they had treated themselves and their offspring, and their retainers, to all that was denied their subjects. The scorched earth they left behind is testament to their tyrannies. Liberty of the Arab variety has not been pretty. But who, in good conscience, would want to lament the fall of the dictators?
Quote: "Agitation against the Israelis is in keeping with the way Morsi thinks. For the Morsi I know, any cooperation with Israel is a serious sin, a crime.", former Muslim Brotherhood insider Abdel-Jalil el-Sharnoubi,, talks about Morsi in an intriguing interview for Der Spiegel.
Number: 705,000, the number of registered Syrian refugees, according to the UN.
The Jewish World
To Read: Eliyahu Stern writes about the heritage of one of Judaism's greatest scholars in this interesting piece in Slate-
No one person can be said to have inspired millions of Jewish students to overcome the roadblocks put before them. Still, it’s telling that Jewish parents of the generations following the Gaon thought otherwise. Playing on the Yiddish vocalization of his name, they bade their children, “Vil-nor Goen:” “If you will it, you too can be a genius.”
Quote: "The racial laws were the worst fault of Mussolini as a leader, who in so many other ways did well", former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi praising Mussolini on international holocaust memorial day, just before falling asleep at an official ceremony.
Number: $6 billion, the shared fortune of the four step- grandchildren of Joseph Goebbels, according to Bloomberg.
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