To Read: Josh Gerstein examines the idea that President Obama's recent announcement about Egypt is part of a 'foreign policy shift'-
President Barack Obama’s decision to slash aid to Egypt’s military government is the latest sign of a course correction shifting the U.S. foreign and national security policies back to the idealistic themes central to his 2008 campaign.
On issue after issue, Obama’s recent moves seem aimed at recapturing principles he articulated five years ago as a candidate crusading against what he portrayed as President George W. Bush’s overreliance on executive power and failure to uphold American values like human rights.
Quote: “In any engagement with Iran, we are mindful of Israel’s security needs. We are mindful of the need for certainty, transparency, and accountability in the process. And I believe firmly that no deal is better than a bad deal”, John Kerry commenting on the prospect of reaching a deal with Iran.
Number: 60, the percentage of Americans who are in favor of creating a third political party in the US.
To Read: Michael Oren writes about how different countries remember the Yom Kippur war differently-
The Yom Kippur War—or, as the Arabs prefer, the Ramadan War, a battle between fasts—erupted on the afternoon of October 6, 1973, when Egyptian and Syrian forces surprised and overran Israeli positions. The following three weeks of fighting were brutal, the scale monumental. Rarely in the post-World War II period have the actions of both senior and junior commanders, the massing of armor and artillery, and the strategic maneuver of entire armies determined the course of a conflict and its outcome. Never again—thankfully—did the Cold War combine with nuclear brinkmanship and OPEC blackmail to produce a truly global, nearly apocalyptic crisis. And a historical debate that rages to this day. Indeed, the moment the war concluded, the fight over its legacy commenced.
Quote: "Netanyahu's bureau was quick to berate me in the press for what I said, claiming I expressed a leftist's position. That is utterly incorrect. What I said stemmed from a nationalistic-Zionist worldview; you see, Zionism demanded self-determination instead of expecting it from others", Yair Lapid with a follow up to his controversial remarks on Israeli Emigrants.
Number: 32, the percentage of Israel's first grade students who are ultra-orthodox, according to Naftali Bennett.
The Middle East
To Read: Brookings' Kenneth Pollack claims that Rouhani is the one who is really facing pressure and time constraints, not the US-
Just why Iran has chosen not to go ahead and weaponize remains a mystery, but there are at least four powerful factors that, taken together, probably have convinced Tehran not to do so for now. These include the threat of an Israeli or (more likely) American military attack; fear that the United States would greatly ramp up its covert action and cyberwarfare campaigns against Iran if it decided to weaponize; fear that the Saudis would obtain nuclear weapons of their own if Iran did; and, of greatest importance to my mind, fear that the Chinese and Indians would join the Western sanctions against Iran because Beijing and New Delhi have made it clear to Tehran that while they do not support a war against Iran, they are dead-set against an Iranian nuclear arsenal.
What’s important about these factors is that all remain firmly in place. If they have been adequate to dissuade Iran from exercising its breakout capability for the past five years, it is likely that they will continue to do so for some time to come.
Quote: “That prize should have been given to me”, Bashar Assad joking about the Nobel peace prize given to the OPCW.
Number: €1.95 billion, the amount of Belgian aid money that was 'lost' in Palestine.
The Jewish World
To Read: Tablet Magazine decided to play a bit with the facts by announcing that Phillip Roth has won the Nobel Prize (and by offering several pieces of commentary about the event)-
Philip Roth, whose brilliant, humorous, often feverish inquiries into Jewish identity, politics, sex, and culture turned him into America’s most celebrated author, won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday.
Announcing the award in Stockholm, the Swedish Academy said that Mr. Roth, 80, the author of 29 novels and the only living American author to have his works anthologized by the Library of America, is “an epicist who examines contemporary American life with incorruptible scrutiny.” He is the 14th American and the 14th Jew to be anointed with the honor.
Quote: “At the beginning of the past decade, the University of Bielefeld found that 51 percent of Germans agreed with the demonizing statement that Israel behaves toward the Palestinians like the Nazis behaved toward the Jews. In 2011, the same university asked Germans whether they agreed with the statement that Israel conducts a war of extermination against the Palestinians. Forty-seven percent of those polled answered in the affirmative. If so many people have such an unfounded, extreme, wicked opinion about others, all that that indicates is that one self has a criminal mindset. In such a societal climate much worse things can happen than graffiti and other attacks on synagogue buildings”, Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, an Israeli expert on modern anti-Semitism, comments on the large number of attacks on synagogues in Germany in the past few years.
Number: 18, the percentage of American Jews who define themselves as conservative (it was 33% in 2000).