To Read: Kimberly Ann Elliot presents the case for easing the sanctions against Iran-
History suggests that once imposed, the promise to lift sanctions often offers more leverage than efforts to keep them from leaking. To be sure, there is no question that the sting of economic sanctions contributed to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s recent charm offensive. But sanctions were hardly the sole reason he came to the table: The window for negotiations opened only after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a president who Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, no longer trusted, was replaced by someone he does -- at least for now. Domestic politics in Iran and the United States will determine whether that window stays open or slams shut once more. To keep it open, Rouhani will have to show his audience at home that he can win some relief. And in the United States, Congress will have to allow Obama sufficient flexibility to use sanctions as the bargaining chip they are.
Quote: “It’s true that sanctions -- not just U.S. sanctions but UN sanctions, multilateral sanctions -- have done tremendous economic damage. Even many of Iran’s leaders have acknowledged that. And I think that Iran is responding to the constant pressure from Israel, knowing that Israel believes them to be an existential threat. I think all of this, combined, probably brought the Iranians to where we are today. Whether the Iranians will carry forth on that, we’ll see”, Chuck Hagel in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg.
Number: 274, the number of American diplomats and aid workers killed on missions abroad since 1780.
To Read: David Newman argues that Israel should not jeopardize the vital academic support it can receive from Europe just to make a political point-
It is time for our leaders to take on a serious dose of political realism. We cannot afford to play politics and to endanger the future of our next generations of researchers and scientists. We cannot afford to exclude young Israeli scientists from being part of the cross-border global generation of future Nobel prize winners.
Israel must sign wholeheartedly into Horizon 2020 while, at the same time, accepting that this will apply to the bona fide institutions which are located within the recognized sovereign territory of the State of Israel and will not extend to those institutions which operate beyond these territorial limits.
Quote: "After all the rounds of negotiations nothing is actually happening, and tensions may rise soon, since Israel says 'we released prisoners and we can't bear it, so we boost settlement construction'", PA President Abbas commenting on the current state of the peace process.
Number: 54, the percentage of Palestinians who support a two-state solution, according to a new poll.
The Middle East
Headline: Diplomats meet over peace talks delay
To Read: Tawakkol Karman- winner of the Nobel Peace Prize- claims that President Morsi is becoming the Arab world's Nelson Mandela-
Morsy was not only Egypt's democratically elected president, he is now emerging as the Arab world's Nelson Mandela. The South African leader brought peace and democracy to his country; during Morsy's one-year reign, Egypt enjoyed freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate peacefully, and not a single one of his political opponents were jailed. Even when he was ousted by force, he killed no one, jailed no one, and never resorted to violent resistance. This is unparalleled in the region.
Quote: "We are sure the president will be able to defend himself. Let me stress that Morsi was like a lion in the court", one of President Morsi's lawyers reporting on his performance in court.
Number: 40, the percentage of Syrians who need aid, according to the UN.
The Jewish World
To Read: R.R Reno, the editor of First Things Journal, presents Rabbi Jonathan Sacks' lecture about what Christians can learn from Jews -
In the new secular Enlightenment empire Christians are becoming more and more like Jews. We are a discordant minority, whom modern secular liberalism treats as an archaic residue of an earlier era that has been superseded by reason and progress—an ironic recapitulation of the ways in which Jews were so often treated by the dominant Christian majority in earlier centuries.
It’s tempting to rage against this secular supersessionism. In his eloquent lecture Sacks does not downplay the difficulties we face. But he clearly and forcefully points us down a pathway of creative hope rather than impotent anger. Faith seeks to draw nearer to God rather than defining itself in terms of worldly power. The history of the Jewish people shows us that this venture of love has tremendous staying power, even when politically and culturally powerless. And not just staying power, but influence. Just a few grains of yeast, if they keep their freshness, can leaven the whole lump.
Quote: "The Wiesenthal Center urges the Senate to vote on the bill immediately and for the President to sign it. Unless and until the Iranians can prove they have stopped their nuclear program, they deserve no moratorium on sanctions”, an excerpt from a statement made by the Wiesenthal center, one of several Jewish organizations to take a political stance on the Iran sanctions issue.
Number: 50, here is the HuffPost's list of 50 stunning synagogues.