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May 20, 2013

by Shmuel Rosner

May 20, 2013 | 3:26 am

John Kerry, photo by Reuters

The US

Headline: Kerry heads to Mideast to advance Syria plan that depends in large part on Russia

To Read: Aaron David Miller writes about Obama's Syrian 'migraine'-

Unlike the IRS, Associated Press, and Benghazi stories, the Syrian crisis will not run out the media cycle; it’s going to continue to hound the president, threatening to draw America in.

And unlike his domestic travails, where the president has some latitude to do damage control, the Syrian civil war offers up no good options.

So far, the president has willfully and wisely tried to avoid militarizing America’s role there. But the course he’s chosen now – trying diplomacy with the Russians — may paradoxically accelerate the very military option he’s trying to avoid.

Quote: “You think of a manager, a leader- when something like this happens, you call people in, you sit them down, and you let them know that you intend to find ground truth fast. And he [Obama] seems not to have done that”, Donald Rumsfeld joining Obama's critics on Benghazi.

Number: 53, Obama's surprisingly stable approval rate, following 'scandal week'.

 

Israel

Headline: Netanyahu: Not true that Israel prefers Assad to rebels

To Read: According to former Israeli ambassador to Washington, Itamar Rabinovich, even though Bashar Assad poses a considerable security threat to Israel, Israel shouldn't rush into action just yet-

…Bashar al-Assad demonstrated his ability to take radical dangerous actions when he built a nuclear reactor in league with North Korea. He demonstrated his willingness to brutalize his own population and use missiles and chemical weapons against it. He is now purely a tool in the service of Iran. This, however, does not mean that Israel should come out openly against Assad and the future of his regime. Israel’s recent entanglement in the Russian-American conflict over the future of Syria is a negative development. While protecting its vital security interests, it should seek to return to the policy it pursued during most of the civil war, i.e., refrain to the best of its ability from being drawn into the crisis and into Syrian politics, and protect its vital security interests firmly, but cautiously and discretely.

Quote: "[Netanyahu is] more willing and more prepared than people think", Yair Lapid discussing Netanyahu's attitude toward the peace process, among many other things, in an interview for the NYT.

 Number: $578 million, the annual amount which Israel- apparently the world's largest drone exporter- receives for its drones.

 

The Middle East

Headline: Thirty Hezbollah fighters killed in Syrian town: activists

To Read: David Kramer believes that the west should stop fawning over Russia and realize that Putin is not the answer to the Syrian crisis-

The Obama administration ought to see Putin for who he really is: a nasty, corrupt, authoritarian leader who holds the West, particularly the United States, in sheer contempt and is overseeing the worst crackdown on human rights in Russia since the breakup of the Soviet Union. It is time to push back on his bullying and egregious behavior and preserve some self-respect. The Russian regime will not help us on Syria, and Putin is no friend.

Quote: "There are no negotiations with criminals and the awe of the state will be preserved", Egyptian President Morsi refusing to talk to the kidnappers who have taken three policemen and four soldiers in hostage.

Number: 28, the number of Palestinians who were tortured in PA prisons in the West Bank, according to a human rights report.

The Jewish World

Headline: Claims Conference considering action to quell media storm on 2001 letter

To Read: Rabbi Yonatan Kaganoff writes a fascinating article about how many orthodox Synagogues today are designed for erudite Yeshiva graduates rather than families-

People make choices to create and affirm their identity. For men who spent years studying in Yeshiva their identification of the ideal Jewish environment is the Yeshiva and the ideal Jew is the one who learns.

Practically, it is not feasible for most men to learn Torah all day beyond a few years. Either because of family responsibilities (such as the need to pay bills), or because most men people are not cut out to spend their life studying or teaching Torah, because of a lack of intellectual abilities, personality or temperament. Despite the fact that the years spent studying in Yeshiva will be few, nonetheless it remains the religious ideal.

Consequently, synagogues are not seen as the ideal framework for expressing one’s Jewishness. The epitome is the Yeshiva.

Quote: "This is an opportunity for imams who are influential in their communities to look at the Holocaust first hand and to go to Auschwitz, to see what that kind of hatred led to", Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich about a visit of leading Muslim clerics to Auschwitz.

Number: 1,900, the number of Jews who disappeared during Argentina's military Junta reign.

 

 

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