To Read: In a new in-depth report for the Washington institute, Ambassador James F. Jeffrey looks at the options the US has for dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat-
In terms of pressuring Iran, little new can be done, apart from making more credible the Obama administration’s strike option to prevent a nuclear weapon. The desire here to avoid articulating a redline is understandable. No country wants to tie its hands on a life-or-death issue. But the U.S. position still carries a major problem: the perception that the window between actionable, high-probability intelligence of an impending Iranian nuclear weapon and the actual acquisition or deployment of such a weapon will be too brief for U.S. action. The administration thus should consider credibility-enhancing steps short of setting a redline or deadline, including a declaration that the president’s warning could include automatic military action upon the announcement of, or intelligence indicating, the existence of a nuclear weapon. A second step for the United States would be to plan for and signal that once it is on the threshold of possible military action, it will deploy various military and diplomatic gestures to show its seriousness while also attempting to convince the Iranians not to proceed any further.
Quote: “This is the first time in the history of our country that a presidential nominee for secretary of defense has been filibustered.What a shame. But that’s the way it is”, Senator Harry Reid about the delaying of the Hagel vote.
Number: 617, the number of tweets sent by members of congress during Obama's State of the Union speech.
To Read: Military correspondent Alon Ben David considers the possible effect instability in Jordan might have on Israel-
The kingdom of Jordan — the last strategic buttress that Israel still has in the Middle East — has so far managed to maintain its stability amid the wave of revolutions sweeping the region. Yet, successful as King Abdullah II of Jordan may have been in forestalling unrest that could threaten his reign, Jihad elements currently fighting in Syria have already marked him as their next target — following Syrian President Bashar Assad. The collapse of King Abdullah II’s regime would in all probability pose the most significant threat to the security of Israel. However, the Israeli public seems to be in effect oblivious of and indifferent to the goings-on in the country neighboring Israel on the east. At the same time, official Israel is keeping mum about its contacts with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Quote: “Since the election, the Likud has been acting against Bayit Yehudi. “They attacked us non-stop during the election. Then they called every party but us and met with Meretz before us. Then they announced to the press that [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu would meet with us, but did not call us for three days. Here again, they made us an offer on TV and only called us a day later. This is not serious. It smells like a trick to lower the price of the other parties”, a source close to Naftali Bennett about the Likud's attitude towards the 'Jewish Home' party.
Number: 35, the percentage of the countries with which Israel has relations where there is no representative from Jerusalem.
The Middle East
Read: Middle East Institute scholar Mohamed Elmenshawy believes that Morsi's need to consider public demands is bound to have serious affect on Egypt-US security cooperation-
In addition to military cooperation, intelligence operations, and regional security, Egypt's relationship with Israel has always been a top priority for American policy. But while Mubarak's authoritarianism had allowed him to craft policy toward Israel to some degree isolated from popular backlash, the democratically-elected Morsi is granted no such buffer. As Egypt's cities and towns spill over with anger and frustration, the new chaotic political order puts pressure on President Morsi to ensure that his foreign policy is responsive to public demands.
Quote: "I left Syria because the polarization in the country has reached a deadly and destructive stage... I left a battlefield, not a normal country, and I apologize to those who trusted my credibility and for leaving without prior notice", Syria's ex-spokesperson breaking silence for the first time since leaving the country in December.
Number: 200, the number of tunnels between Egypt and Gaza which have been shut since the ascent of Morsi.
The Jewish World
To Read: Charlie Buckholtz shares some interesting personal recollections of David Hartman-
Hartman often contrasted his thinking to that of Abraham Joshua Heschel, whose focus on the individual in confrontation with God was in some ways the mirror image of Hartman’s call for collective dignity. “I’m different [from Heschel]: I start with my father singing a niggun, at the Shabbes table, where the family can fight and love, in a living, vibrant place. I want to see my father’s excitement at getting a beautiful esrog. I want to see him feeling dignified even though he was poor, Friday night when my mother served him fish: the head of the fish, to make him feel he was the head of the family. Shabbes turned a poor man into a dignified man who could sing,” he said in one of our sessions.
“The tragedy is that the self-appointed carriers of the music, in between the fish and the soup courses of Shabbes dinner, are carrying stones to throw at passing cars, to build up an appetite for the chicken. And on the way, they are arguing about the halakhic implications of the size of the stones.”
Quote: "We know that the three Righteous Gentiles are no longer alive. We will do everything in our power to see their offspring receive the official recognition of the State of Israel, even if 46 years too late", Shahar Shelef, the deputy Israeli ambassador to the Czech Republic, about righteous among the nations certificates discovered in the basement of the Swedish embassy in Prague.
Number: 55, the number of films showcased this year at the Washington Jewish film festival.