To Read: Inconvenient Truths About Al Jazeera
Al Gore must have missed the channel's support for Hamas when he sold his liberal Current TV to the Qatari media giant, wries L. Gordon Crovitz in the Wall Street Journal.
More due diligence might have included a review of the close journalistic coverage over the years of Al Jazeera's Arabic and English broadcasts, which discloses the unsurprising fact that the network reflects the interests of the government that runs it—making it akin to Vladimir Putin's Russia Today and Beijing's Xinhua. The emir of Qatar, Hamid bin Khalifa Al Thani, appointed his cousin as chairman of Al Jazeera. The emir was last in the news for donating $400 million to Hamas, a terrorist organization.
Quote: “A hundred years from now, they’re not going to be talking about health care or the fiscal cliff. But they will ask, ‘What did you do when we knew we were going to have serious climate change?’ ” Vanderbilt Law School professor Michael Vandenbergh reacts to news that 2012 was the hottest year on record for the US
Number: 35 The estimated death toll from US drone strikes in Pakistan since the start of the year
To Read: Will 2013 Be an Unlucky Year for Israel?
Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute examines the threats facing Israel in 2013.
First, Israel finds itself as the place where the Middle East's two mega-trends -- the threat of Iran's hegemonic ambitions and the spread of radical Sunni extremism -- find common cause. While these two trends battle against each other in Syria, Bahrain and elsewhere, the recent Gaza conflict highlighted a neat, if sometimes competitive, division of labor -- with Iran providing rockets to Hamas and Sunni states such as Qatar, Egypt and Turkey providing Hamas with vital political support. It is not a cause for celebration that jihad against Israel has succeeded in unifying the region's radical Shiites and radical Sunnis.
Quote: "From my contacts with him, in Washington and in Israel, I can testify that Hagel was always attentive and friendly toward Israel" Former Israel Navy commander Rear Admiral (ret.) Ze'ev Almog comes out in support of the nominee for US defense secretary
Number: 28 Netanyahu's spot on Twitter's list of heads of state and their usage of the social media forum
The Middle East
To Read: Who rules Egypt?
Egyptians are worried by the apparent power struggle which is gathering steam in Egypt, writes Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed in Asharq Al-Awsat
Who is ruling Egypt? In the past, they said that Mubarak’s wife and son were interfering in the presidency’s decisions. Now, they are saying that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide and his deputy decide what happens and even have the power to cancel the president’s decrees. This was reportedly demonstrated when Mursi’s statement greeting Egypt’s Coptic community was withdrawn from the official news agency just one hour following its publication.
Quote: “There are real worries about what has happened to the uranium that Syria was planning to put into the Al-Kibar reactor shortly before the reactor was destroyed in 2007” David Albright, the head of the US-based Institute for Science and International Security, voices concerns over about the security of up to 50 tons of unenriched uranium in Syria
Number: 2,000 The number of civilians the Syrian regime reportedly handed over to rebels in return for 48 Iranian prisoners
The Jewish World
To Read: Gun Control and the Limits of Halakhah
Writing in Jewish Ideas Daily, Rabbi Shlomo Brody asks whether Jewish law can truly provide guidance in preventing further massacres in America.
Indeed, the Torah not only allows people to kill intruders in their homes but actually mandates that potential victims or even bystanders kill a person seeking to commit murder (rodef): “Do not stand by the bloodshed of your fellow.” (Leviticus 19:16) The question facing society is how to regulate weapons so as to balance these rules most effectively and to maximize the single value that underlies them: keeping people safe. Jewish sources have addressed similar issues of balance in two different contexts: “cities of refuge” and fierce dogs.
Quote: "Enough" Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head while meeting with constituents two years ago, launches her gun control project
Number: $5 million The deficit run up by the congregational arm of the Conservative movement over the past two years