To Read: Leslie Gelb and Dimitri K. Simes examine 'The New Anti-American Axis'-
Russia and China appear to have decided that, to better advance their own interests, they need to knock Washington down a peg or two. Neither probably wants to kick off a new cold war, let alone hot conflicts, and their actions in the case of Mr. Snowden show it. China allowed him into Hong Kong, but gently nudged his departure, while Russia, after some provocative rhetoric, seems to have now softened its tone.
Still, both countries are seeking greater diplomatic clout that they apparently reckon they can acquire only by constraining the United States. And in world affairs, there’s no better way to flex one’s muscles than to visibly diminish the strongest power.
Quote: “Israel and the United States have always enjoyed a special relationship and, throughout these years of challenge, I was privileged to take part in forging even firmer bonds”, Michael Oren, Israel's Ambassador to the US, is leaving his position.
Number: 62, the percentage of men who have a favorable opinion of Anthony Weiner (the percentage among women is much lower).
To Read: FP's Oren Kessler tries to figure out why Israel isn't happier with Morsi's downfall-
And yet Israelis could not deny that this deeply flawed leader had kept the two countries' three-decade cold peace at a chill roughly similar to that of his pro-Western predecessor Hosni Mubarak. Morsy, it seemed, might not be the monumentally destabilizing force Israeli leaders had feared. It's true that under him, government-to-government contact was lacking to nonexistent -- dealings with the Israelis were almost entirely handled by the military and intelligence. And yet when conflict predictably erupted between Israel and Hamas in last year's eight-day Operation Pillar of Defense, Morsy's government played a useful role mediating between the two sides, each of which refuses to talk to the other directly.
Quote: “I am trying to present to you, members of Knesset, a different Judaism, a Judaism that does not hate the stranger, but brings him closer through an understanding of his uniqueness and [spiritual] stature”, MK Elazar Stern in an open letter to his fellow MK's about his burial bill proposal.
Number: 103, John Kerry’s formula for peace talks progress will include the release of 103 Palestinian prisoners detained by Israel before the 1993 Oslo Accords.
The Middle East
To Read: What can Egypt learn from Turkey's militarily monitored democracy? Mchael J. Kolplow takes a look at the matter-
The so-called Turkish model, in which the military provides the space for secular democracy to thrive, is built on the assumption that the decades of military tutelage in Turkey were beneficial. The army, the thinking goes, served as an important check on elected governments until Turkish democracy had matured to the point that it could run on its own. In fact, military rule in Turkey, particularly following the 1980 coup, did the opposite. For one, it brought the torture, imprisonment, and disappearance of thousands upon thousands of Turkish citizens. In addition, although the coup had enormous public support behind it -- much like the recent one in Egypt -- it did not lead to political utopia. No country can be democratic until there are no unelected bodies with power over elected officials. So long as the Turkish military had the ultimate veto, elected governments had to look over their shoulders, which, in turn, damaged state and civil society institutions. Kemalist judges relied on the army to further their interests, Turkish media became part and parcel of a climate of censorship, and state institutions remained immature.
Quote: "The first step that should be made in Egypt after the army toppled the elected president is to integrate him back into the political system as a legitimate political actor, along with the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party [FJP]", Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu urging Egypt to let ousted President Morsi back into the country's political life.
Number: 97, Syria's foreign trade fell by 97 percent last year.
The Jewish World
To Read: Historian Ira Katznelson believes that the writers of 'FDR and the Jews' let the iconic American President off the hook a bit too easily-
The book’s focus on ethical questions does remind us that not all decisions are like all other decisions. President Roosevelt’s policies about Jews were calculated the way he calculated other strategic options: politically. But some choices fall in a different, more fundamental, dimension. There are moments in history when political considerations must give way to moral ones. That is what Anne McCormick meant when she wrote that Jewish rescue “is not a question of how many more unemployed this country can safely add to its own unemployed millions. It is a test of civilization.” And that is what Josiah DuBois implied when he charged the United States with complicity in Hitler’s murders. These judgments still sting.
Quote: “There is a deep human need to come together to celebrate and reaffirm the values and ideals we hold precious, and to unify around a shared moral vision. This is what Sinai Indaba is about – a Torah-inspired magical moment of Jewish unity”, South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, commenting on his successful event.
Number: 16, the number of women fighting for their right to be Kashrut supervisors.