To Read: Bob Woodward analyzes Obama's choice of Hagel and cites an interesting skepticism about the US military as a common ideological ground between the two-
This worldview is part hawk and part dove. It amounts, in part, to a challenge to the wars of President George W. Bush. It holds that the Afghanistan war has been mismanaged and the Iraq war unnecessary. War is an option, but very much a last resort.
So, this thinking goes, the U.S. role in the world must be carefully scaled back — this is not a matter of choice but of facing reality; the military needs to be treated with deep skepticism; lots of strategic military and foreign policy thinking is out of date; and quagmires like Afghanistan should be avoided.
Quote: "And as I wrestle with those decisions, I am more mindful probably than most of not only our incredible strengths and capabilities, but also our limitations. In a situation like Syria, I have to ask, can we make a difference in that situation? Would a military intervention have an impact? How would it affect our ability to support troops who are still in Afghanistan? What would be the aftermath of our involvement on the ground? Could it trigger even worse violence or the use of chemical weapons? What offers the best prospect of a stable post-Assad regime? And how do I weigh tens of thousands who've been killed in Syria versus the tens of thousands who are currently being killed in the Congo?", President Obama talking with the New Republic about Syria.
Number: 'nearly half', the amount of americans who are overqualified for their jobs according to a recent study.
To Read: Shai Hermesh and Josh Reinstein write about the great effectivity of interfaith political advocacy in Israel-
With all other advocacy and diplomacy efforts garnering only marginal success, the faith-based diplomacy initiated by the KCAC through the activities of its umbrella organization, the Israel Allies Foundation, has become the most influential weapon in Israel’s foreign affairs arsenal. These political efforts have been supported by the interfaith activities of the World Jewish Congress, which has allowed for Jewish and Christian grassroots to cooperate in an unprecedented way. While geopolitical and economic factors can change, parliamentary support based on biblical values is unbreakable and will endure no matter what befalls the Jewish state.
Quote: 'I read about the Iranian blast in the paper', strategic affairs minister and former army chief of staff Moshe Yaalon about the recent Iranian explosion.
Number: 30, the annual percent decrease in venture capital raised in Israel in 2012.
The Middle East
To Read: An interesting look at the perhaps over naive-western view of the 2011 revolution in Egypt:
This kind of engagement with events favours short-term, feel good narratives, largely because the kind of activity that the onlooker must engage in to build the imagined reality is not sustainable in the long run: eventually, these users turned off twitter and started returning to normal online activity, happy in the knowledge that the revolution was won. So much for solidarity. The end result is that, for followers on Twitter, the revolution lasted 18 days and its story is happily encapsulated in the pervasive notion of the 'Facebook Revoution'.
Quote: “We don’t deny that our ties with Iran were negatively affected over the crisis in Syria, but we both are still interested in keeping the friendly atmosphere between us,”, Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, al-Monitor.
Number: 7, the number of people killed on Sunday at Port Said during the funerals of the 30 people killed the previous day
The Jewish World
To Read: University of Chicago Professor David Nirenberg examines how societies through the ages have dealt with social changes through the prism of anti-Semitism and believes we would do well to study the matter-
...we should want to ask why so many diverse cultures—even cultures with no Jews living among them—have thought so much about Judaism. What work did this thinking do for them in their efforts to make sense of the world? Did that work, in turn, affect the ways in which future societies—including our own—could or would think with and about Judaism? Without asking such questions, we cannot be confident that our own understanding of our world is not itself being shaped by old habits of thought.
Quote: “This cartoon would be offensive at any time of the year, but to publish it on International Holocaust Remembrance Day is sickening and expresses a deeply troubling mindset,”, European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor responding to The Sunday Times' gory caricature of Netanyahu.
Number: $1.3b, the amount that has been paid to Holocaust survivors by Swiss banks in the 15 years following the 'Nazi Gold' controversy.