Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times writes that Hagel faces a grilling on Iran and Israel from the most influential Jewish member of the Senate, Democrat Charles Schumer.
Mr. Hagel’s nomination has been met with suspicion, and even outright hostility, among Republicans and Democrats who are strongly aligned with Jewish groups.
Mr. Schumer plans to ask Mr. Hagel to clarify and in some ways recant statements about Iran and Israel, according to a person with knowledge of the senator’s plans for the meeting. Mr. Schumer also intends to press Mr. Hagel about conservative views he has expressed on gay rights and abortion. Other Democrats are likely to take their cues about the nomination from Mr. Schumer, who is the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate and has strong ties to pro-Israel groups.
Quote: Washington is letting the bad guys shoot our police officers, our children, our neighbors. That has to stop right now. And there are immediate steps our legislators can take right now NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg takes on the gun lobby
Number: 3 The number of Golden Globes awarded to Homeland, the political thriller based on an Israeli TV drama
Israel's parties are deploying native English speakers to actively court the Anglo population, writes Ben Sales of JTA.
Although Anglo political influence is on the rise, it's unclear if English speakers will follow in the footsteps of Russian immigrants, who formed their own powerful Knesset party, Yisrael Beiteinu. Gil Troy, a McGill University history professor who is now a fellow at Jerusalem’s Shalom Hartman Institute, said that English speakers have historically tried to blend into mainstream Israeli society rather than form their own distinct culture.
Quote: "America's ties with Israel are so strong that they will remain that way even with the Obama administration not seeming to be going out to dinner with Netanyahu, or playing bridge, or whatever you do with your friends" Rand Paul discusses the relationship between Israel and its greatest ally
Number: NIS 39 billion The treasury reveals Israel's 2012 budget deficit, which is significantly higher than expected
The conflict in Syria is having a direct bearing on sectarian tensions across the region, writes Fouad Aami for the Wall Street Journal.
But in Lebanon, too, the Syrian rebellion has upended the political equation. The unfettered reign of Hezbollah cannot survive the fall of the Damascus dictatorship. The legend of the "axis of resistance" that Hezbollah used to ride herd over a Lebanese population is in tatters. In reality, it was the rule of the gun that had given Hezbollah its edge, but guns are plentiful, and the Sunnis of Beirut, Tripoli and Sidon are now capable of fielding their own militias. The racket that Hezbollah ran, with Syria's connivance, for nearly two decades is losing its power. The Shiites of Lebanon will of course endure, but they might begin to find a way out from under Hezbollah's warlords.
Quote: "Many of these women have experienced rape and torture in Syria, but as refugees [they] can't find the support they need to heal their physical and emotional scars – let alone provide food and shelter for their families" Sanj Srikanthan of the International Rescue Committee says sexual violence is playing a large role in the atrocities in Syria
Number: 300 The number of prisoners held under anti-terrorism laws released by the Iraqi government Monday as a goodwill gesture to Sunni Muslim demonstrators staging protests against Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
To Read: A Mobster in the Family
Naomi Sandweiss of Tablet takes a look at the life of a Jewish gangster, through the eyes of her husband's notorious Detroit uncle.
My husband recalls his Great Uncle Sam showering him and his siblings with bills from his bankroll at b’nai mitzvah and other family events. At the time, my husband had no idea that the man behind the bills was actually career criminal Sammy “The Mustache” Norber, an associate of Detroit’s notorious Jewish crime syndicate the Purple Gang. What Cohen was to Los Angeles, the Purple Gang was to Detroit—a Jewish gang feared by even Al Capone’s Chicago mob.
Quote: "If the sequester were to go into effect in two months from now, that could affect our ability to serve residents we already have as well as bring new residents" Rachel Goldberg, B'nai B'rith's director of aging policy, worries about looming financial difficulties for Jewish charities
Number: Five years The length of time it took Florida Department of Corrections to agree to serve kosher food to Jewish inmates