Headline: Hagel Outlines Plan for Defense Cuts
To Read: Thomas Sewell criticizes the Obama administration's excessive optimism about democracy in the Middle East:
The Obama administration treated the creation of “democracy” in the Middle East as a good thing. Ironically, those who created the United States of America viewed democracy with fear — and created a Constitutional republic instead.
Everything depends on how you define democracy. In its most basic sense, democracy means majority rule. But there can be majority rule in a free country or in a country with an authoritarian or even a dictatorial government.
Quote: “His diplomacy will be based on what he hears from the parties”, State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, about the upcoming Kerry visit to the middle east.
Number: $32,400, the price for a ticket to a fundraiser event attended by the President at the house of Ann and Gordon Getty.
To Read: Amos Harel gives his knowledgeable input about the recent incidents on the Syria and Gaza fronts:
In practice Israel is trying to preserve its deterrence on both fronts, by reminding the other parties that Israel has the military edge and they would do well not to force a wider contest.
But in both cases this aim is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve. The turmoil in Syria is so great - human rights organizations estimate that in March about 6,000 people were killed in the country’s civil war - that it’s doubtful Damascus can control its military forces fighting the insurgents near the Israeli border.
Quote: "The Nazis' successors are numerous; they stick by anti-Semitic ways and plot (to create) a modern Auschwitz", IDF chief, Benny Gantz, speaking at a holocaust memorial service at Yad Vashem.
Number: 65, the percentage of Israelis who believe that there is no danger of a new holocaust.
The Middle East
To Read: Lauren Wolfe reveals the disturbing extent of Syria's rape crisis:
Although most coverage of the Syrian civil war tends to focus on the fighting between the two sides, this war, like most, has a more insidious dimension: rape has been reportedly used widely as a tool of control, intimidation, and humiliation throughout the conflict. And its effects, while not always fatal, are creating a nation of traumatized survivors -- everyone from the direct victims of the attacks to their children, who may have witnessed or been otherwise affected by what has been perpetrated on their relatives.
Quote: "There has been a very positive line out of Tehran on the talks so far. We hope that that positive talk will now be matched with some concrete responses and actions on the Iranian side", a senior US official talking about possible progress in talks with Teheran.
Number: 'up to 600', the number of Europeans among the ranks of the Syrian rebel forces.
The Jewish World
To Read: Jamie Kirchick writes about his experiences as a 'Jew in a Box' at the infamous Berlin exhibition:
To me, the “Jew in a Box” is an ironic, meta-commentary on what it is like to live as a Jew in contemporary Germany: You feel sometimes that you are an endangered species—or, as the museum commentary puts it, “a living exhibition object.” As a Jew in Germany, you are confronted by your Jewishness, your difference, on a continual basis, like the time I saw ads in the Berlin U-Bahn likening the practice of circumcision to child molestation “I have never felt so Jewish until I moved here,” I told the Israeli museum guests. The younger Israeli responded that “you only feel that when you let yourself feel like that.”
Quote: “Women of the Wall are not going to be banished to a separate space, because we don’t think separate is equal. We want to be with the rest of the Jews of the world at the Western Wall, and pray halakhically [according to Jewish law] as we do”, Anat Hofmann responding to yet another round of police warnings and ban notifications given to 'Women of the Wall'.
Number: 67, the percentage of Israeli holocaust survivors who are dissatisfied by the way Israeli governments have taken care of their needs.