Headline: Egypt, U.S. on Collision Course
To Read: Jonah Golberg writes about the growing popularity of the 'to hell with them' mindset among Americans-
The “to hell with them” attitude is no doubt prevalent among Americans who dislike Muslims, but having animus in one’s heart is not a prerequisite for exhaustion and exasperation with large swaths of the Middle East. All you need to do is read the headlines coming out of the Middle East and feel like, “I’ve seen this movie before.” And thanks to fracking and other technological boons, the fact that we’re becoming less and less reliant on Middle Eastern oil only serves to undermine arguments that we need regional stability at any cost.
You can’t prove a negative, but my hunch is that support for Israel or South Korea, never mind our NATO allies, remains quite strong. If real friends were threatened, the American people would support coming to their aid. It’s just that there’s a growing — or, in many cases, deepening — sense that we don’t have real friends in the Muslim world.
Quote: "Nothing has come through yet, and we haven't been given a specific date when we'll see them", Khalid Saleh, an official of the Syrian Opposition Coalition, commenting on the fact that the US still hasn't sent the moderate rebels the Military assistance it promised them a while ago.
Number: 349, the number of suicides among active-duty U.S. troops, more than the 295 Americans who died last year in Afghanistan.
To Read: Daniel Gordis offers an interesting piece about Israeli PM Menachem Begin and about the problematic attitudes toward him among American Jews-
Given those similarities, it is worth asking why many Jewish Americans bow their heads in respect to Nathan Hale, but wince in shame at the mention of the Hebrew freedom fighters who sought precisely what it was that Hale died for. Why is George Washington, who conducted a violent, fierce and bloody campaign against the British, a hero, while for many, Begin remains a villain or, at the very least, a Jewish leader with a compromised background? Some of the difference has to do with time. We have photographs of the two British sergeants Begin ordered hanged in response to the British hanging of his men, and of the shattered King David Hotel, which he ordered bombed. We know the names of the sergeants and of the victims in the hotel attack, but not of the British young men who died at the hands of America’s revolutionaries.
Quote: “Unfortunately, because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel has been weighed down by criticism and suffered from bias and sometimes even discrimination”, Ban Ki Moon admits that Israel faces bias in the UN.
Number: 1.5, the number of miles between an intense Syrian battle currently fought in the city of Breiqa and the nearest Israeli village.
The Middle East
To Read: Turkish Journalist Mustafa Akyol gives the Muslim Brotherhood some advice on how to survive the coup and restore Islamism in Egypt, based on Turkey's past experience-
Still, how the Islamists of Turkey survived the coup and ultimately defeated it is worth looking at. Their secret was not defiance, let alone radicalization, but moderation. The reformists within Erbakan’s party, such as Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Abdullah Gul and Bulent Arinc, realized that while nothing could justify the coup, some of the provocative and triumphant rhetoric among their own people helped provoke it. That is why they decided to launch a “renewal” movement in the party, which gradually evolved into the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Founded in 2001, the AKP made a clear break with the Islamism of Erbakan, using a pragmatic rhetoric which promised good governance and “respect for all lifestyles.”
Quote: “I’m still against the regime, but now if you think about the fall of the regime, it’s dangerous. The Islamists, the jihadis, they have stolen our revolution”, Anas Gabiah, one of many Syrian rebels who have become alienated from the struggle due to the increased role of radicals.
Number: 70,000, the number of Palestinians who have fled from Syria to Lebanon in the past two years.
The Jewish World
To Read: A congregational Rabbi shares his thoughts on a central change in modern day religion in America-
The primary thesis of institutionalized American religion used to be, “How do we serve God?” Today it has increasingly become, “How do God and religion enhance my life?”
Purveyors of religion used to say, “Do such and such because God says so.” They told us that our function is to be here to exalt, praise, adore, bless, obey, worship and believe in God. But American religion in recent years, while certainly not negating the worship of God, has increasingly emphasized what God does for us. Like anything else we select or buy, religion is good for us.
Quote: "I’m proud of what the house has become. I think it has fulfilled its cycle", 0-year old Naomi Szulman, whose family's home in Argentina has been turned into a replica of Anne Frank's hideout.
Number: 300, the percent increase in complaints of discrimination against Sephardic girls in Ultra Orthodox schools in Israel.