To Read: Eric Trager writes about the problematic message Obama has sent the Egyptian people by cutting US military aid-
But if the U.S. cuts aid now, it won’t be able to have that conversation then. It will also put at risk U.S.-Egyptian military cooperation that is of significant value to U.S. strategy in the Middle East, which includes U.S. overflight rights and preferred access in the Suez Canal. And by only keeping the portion of the aid that is designed for counterterrorism operations and border control, the administration will reinforce the perception in Egypt that the military aid’s primary purpose is to keep Israel safe, and that Washington does not care about Egyptians’ well-being.
Cutting aid, in other words, is a lose-lose proposition: It will cost Washington substantial influence within Egypt without achieving any gains for either American geostrategy or democratic prospects within Egypt. It is an unforced error in the extreme.
Quote: "So this would be on the basis of performance… By no means is this a withdrawal from our relationship or a severing of our serious commitment to helping the government" transition to democracy", Secretary of State John Kerry commenting on the US' controversial decision in Egypt.
Number: 24%, the Republican Party's all-time low NBC/WSJ approval rate.
To Read: Victor Davis Hanson tries to figure out why Netanyahu is so stressed out about Iran-
The disastrous idea of a pre-emptory war to disarm Iran seems to us apocalyptic. But then, we are a nation of 314 million, not 8 million; the winner of World War II, not nearly wiped out by it; surrounded by two wide oceans, not 300 million hostile neighbors; and out of Iranian missile range, not well within it. Reverse those equations, and Mr. Obama might sound as neurotic as Mr. Netanyahu would utopian.
We can be wrong about Mr. Rouhani without lethal consequences. Mr. Netanyahu reviews history and concludes that he has no such margin of error. That fact alone allows us to sound high-minded and idealistic — and Israel suspicious and cranky.
Quote: “Amsalem could bring new voters to Bayit Yehudi. If we win 20 seats, there is room for everyone”, leading 'Jewish Home' member Uri Orbach commenting on the his party's attempt to take away voters from Shas now that Ovadia is dead.
Number: $40m, the amount of money Apple paid a 21-year old Israeli earlier this week for developing a personal assistant app.
The Middle East
To Read: Barak Barfi and Aaron Zelin examine the al-Qaeda affiliated ISIS' campaign to win the hearts of the Syrian people through 'community outreach'-
ISIS has embarked on al Qaeda's most comprehensive campaign yet to win Arab hearts and minds by providing social services to a war-ravaged society. But though the organization's star is ascendant, its abuses, coupled with an international strategy to limit its influence, could still torpedo its plan to transform northern Syria into an Islamic emirate under its command.
Quote: "Permitting Iran to serve on the U.N.'s leading disarmament committee (First Committee) is like appointing a drug lord CEO of a pharmaceutical company", Israel's UN ambassador Ron Prosor on Iran's bid for the vice chairmanship of the U.N. Disarmament Commission
Number: 70 the number of people killed by the Syrian army in its efforts to recapture two Damascus suburbs.
The Jewish World
To Read: The always eloquent Jonathan Sacks muses on Abraham as an example of non-conformism-
Judaism is a sustained critique of power. That is the conclusion I have reached after a lifetime of studying our sacred texts. It is about how a nation can be formed on the basis of shared commitment and collective responsibility. It is about how to construct a society that honors the human person as the image and likeness of God. It is about a vision, never fully realized but never abandoned, of a world based on justice and compassion, in which “They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11: 9)
Abraham is without doubt the most influential person who ever lived. Today he is claimed as the spiritual ancestor of 2.4 billion Christians, 1.6 billion Muslims, and 13 million Jews – more than half of the people alive today. Yet he ruled no empire, commanded no great army, performed no miracles, and proclaimed no prophecy. He is the supreme example in all of history of influence without power.
Why? Because he was prepared to be different. As the sages say, he was called ha-ivri, “the Hebrew,” because “all the world was on one side (be-ever echad) and he was on the other.” (Genesis Rabbah 42: 8 )
Quote: “When the opportunity for this trip came up, I asked my daughter about it, and she said it’s very similar to what she did on Birthright and it’s fantastic. Because of the way it was done for her, she in a way passed it on to me”, Nancy Wachtenheim, one of the participants in a new 'birth right for parents'-type initiative (alas, it isn't for free!).
Number: 10, all 10 of the incumbent elected members of Israel's Rabbinate council have been re-elected (they must be doing a great job).