To Read: David Kenner tells the story of a well intentioned American NGO which tried to promote democracy in Egypt (and of how it did just the opposite)-
In an Egyptian courtroom on a sunny summer morning, a judge declared that 43 employees of non-governmental organizations in Egypt, including more than a dozen Americans, were criminals. The ruling marked another blow for civil society here -- and the end, for now, of U.S.-funded efforts to promote democracy in Egypt.
The guilty verdict also marks the culmination of a process that has soured the Egyptian staff of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Cairo -- as well as one American staffer -- toward their leadership in Washington. In multiple interviews, these staff described how NDI entered Egypt's post-revolutionary period looking to promote transparency and lay the groundwork for an expanded role for civil society -- and ended up accomplishing the exact opposite.
Quote: “We strongly believe that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel with no waivers and no caveats”, congressman Doug Lamborn, one of several congressmen who participated in an event celebrating Jerusalem at Capitol Hill.
Number: 72, the percentage of Egyptians who have no confidence in President Obama.
To Read: Igal Sarna is appalled by Shimon Peres' ostentatious birthday celebration (and especially by the main event)-
So plant a tree in Peres' name; or an entire forest along the border with Gaza called "Peres' Peace Forest." But inviting Clinton to speak for $500,000 on the president's birthday is like hiring a stripper for your wedding anniversary. It's the last event you'll be celebrating as a married couple.
Quote: “It was a good experience. I enjoyed my time there, having a comfortable life and good labor”, Mohammad Abu Huzayen, a young man from Gaza comparing life in an Israeli jail in to life in his dire hometown.
Number: 80, the amount of nuclear warheads Israel possesses, according to a new report.
The Middle East
To Read: According to Sonar Cagaptay, whether the recent protests in Turkey will result in policy changes or not, the important thing is that we're finally seeing some Turkish grassroots activity-
Now the middle-class has tasted the power of organized grassroots action, forcing Erdogan -- who has nurtured a strong man image in politics -- to change his mind about the park-to-shopping mall project. Even if this week's demonstrations eventually fizzle away, grassroots activism and middle-class demands for liberties appear to have become a force of Turkish politics, thanks to a campaign to save some trees.
Quote: "If Erdogan is unable to pursue non-violent means, he should resign" Syria's information minister Omran Zoabi being cynical.
Number: 25, the number of people detained in the Turkish city of Izmir for “tweeting misleading and libelous information”.
The Jewish World
Headline: Chief rabbis threatened over Kotel war
To Read: Gidon Rothstein believes that American orthodox Jews should always remember that their religion unequivocally states they should be living in Israel-
We should be making clear, all of us but especially our leaders, that Jews are supposed to live in Israel when and as soon as possible.
Once we realize that, we would also see that while it is still not possible to live there, we need to be reminding ourselves that we are living a life that is significantly less than ideal. This is not, “oh, I could probably learn five more minutes of Torah a day if I tried” (not to belittle that), it’s not “I could speak a bit less lashon hara if I paid attention,” (not to belittle that) this is a gaping hole in our relationship with Hashem. We are supposed to be there, and we are not, and we need to have that issue put in our faces however frequently it takes to keep it alive for us.
Quote: “Without the amendment, hundreds of thousands of Jews would not have been able to enter the United States. Without the amendment, the profile of the American Jewish community would be very different—in terms of numbers, in terms of making the community better”, ” Mark Levin, the director of NCSJ (which advocates on Behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States & Eurasia), about the momentous impact of Senator Frank Lautenberg on American Jewry.
Number: 36, 'Jewish Week' has compiled a list of '36 Jews under 36'.