To Read: Michael Young thinks that General Dempsey's recent Syria plan is just a another piece of evidence showing that the US isn't serious about intervening in Syria-
When generals want to avoid military intervention in a conflict overseas, they provide options, all of which are bad.
This week, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey, did precisely that in a letter to Carl Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, presenting a list of options for intervention in Syria. This included training opposition personnel, engaging in airstrikes, and enforcing a no-fly zone over parts of Syria. Dempsey noted that long-range strikes against military targets of the Syrian regime would require “hundreds of aircraft, ships, submarines and other enablers,” and would cost “in the billions.”
Quote: “He would sit with Abbas and Netanyahu, and he carried messages and received messages and conveyed different points. But it seemed more of a sideshow rather than the main event at the time. Now it seems as though he was preparing himself in Obama’s first term for this moment now that he is secretary of State”, Dan Arbell, who recently served as Israel's Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington, on John Kerry's years of quiet work on the peace process.
Number: 23, the percentage of 18-33 year olds who are religious progressives (according to the same poll, only 17 percent are religious conservatives)
To Read: Professor Aviad Kleinberg tries to understand why Bennett feels so strongly about a referendum-
Naftali Bennet wants a referendum. If the government will ask to withdraw from areas in Greater Israel, it will have to be put to a referendum. Why is this so important to him? I suppose it is not for the sake of democracy. Even Judaism (which in its current format advocates a process in which a small group of people who were not elected by the entire community make all the decisions) is not the issue. Bennett wants a referendum in order to add another obstacle on the way to a peace deal. That's all.
Quote: “All of a sudden he says the money is not the issue. Indeed, they want to bring us to our knees and read the text that they dictate to us”, an Israeli official responding to Turkey's recent rejection of Israel's compensation proposal for the flotilla incident.
Number: 140, the number of prominent American Jewish figures who have signed a letter applauding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s support of renewed peace talks with the Palestinians.
The Middle East
Headline: Morsi detained for 'spying for Hamas'
To Read: Barbara Slavin believes that Iran and Hezbollah might actually be part of a possible solution to the Syrian crisis-
While Khamenei and Nasrallah have left no doubt about their commitment to the Assad regime, the price they are paying for that support is rising and could ultimately limit their regional influence rather than enhancing it.
The best way for them to turn a potential liability into an asset is to support talks that produce at least a cease-fire in the Syrian bloodbath. The Obama administration can help by dropping its opposition to an Iranian role and taking advantage of a new Iranian president who says he wants to be part of the solution to the Syrian war and not merely one of its many enablers.
Quote: “Iraq is a partner of the United States and we are in regular conversations with Iraqi officials about a full range of issues of mutual interest, including Iran”, Patrick Ventrell, a State Department spokesman, responding to reports on Iran making advances toward the US through Iraq.
Number: 2000, the number of people killed in Syria since the beginning of Ramadan.
The Jewish World
To Read: Nobel Prize winner YIsrael Aumann argues against divorcing religion and state in Israel-
Perhaps most important is the matter of schools. In the non-religious state schools, there is precious little Judaism now; disengaging the state from religion might well lead to its disappearance altogether. And who would pay for the religious schools? The “communities”? Come, that’s laughable. In the United States, tuition at Jewish schools can run to $35,000 per year per child; many families come on aliya for that reason alone. The Jewish community in Israel does shoulder that cost, but it cannot possibly do so on a voluntary basis.
The above are only three examples of involvement of the state in religious matters which it would be difficult to forgo; there are many more.
Quote: “While we wish that Mr. Waters would have avoided using the Star of David, we believe there is no anti-Semitic intent here”, the ADL showing relative restraint after Roger Waters used a pig balloon with a Star of David in one of his concerts.
Number: 989, the number of kids who are expected to make Aliya in 2013.
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