To Read: Russia Specialist Nikolai Gvosdev writes about the exceptionally tricky US-Russia dispute over Syria-
If, however, the S-300s are operational and the United States does begin efforts to create and enforce a no-fly zone, then for the first time since the Cold War, Moscow would be supplying weapons that could be used to target U.S. forces. What makes this development particularly problematic for the U.S.-Russian relationship is that Syria's existing stockpile of Russian-supplied equipment presents a challenge but not an insurmountable obstacle for any potential U.S. operation. But if the Russians engaged in the ongoing supply and upgrade of Damascus's air defense capabilities—with the express purpose of thwarting U.S. intervention—it would be very difficult to compartmentalize this and prevent it from contaminating other areas of U.S.-Russia relations.
Quote: "We believe that the vast majority of the protesters have been peaceful, law-abiding, ordinary citizens exercising their rights. The United States has serious concerns about the reports of excessive use of force by police and large numbers of injuries and damage to property", White house spokesman Jay Carney discussing Turkey.
Number: 11, the percentage of Americans who believe that US use of drones against terrorists should decrease.
To Read: Tablet's Liel Leibovitz tries to follow the logic of Alice Walker's passionate fight against Israel-
When I saw that Alice Walker had written an open letter urging Alicia Keys to cancel her upcoming concert in Israel, my first instinct was to look away. Ever since the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist refused to allow Israeli publishers to translate her best-known book, The Color Purple, into Hebrew, ostensibly to protest the Israeli occupation of Palestine, I have had a hard time reading her public statements with the respect that I have previously felt was due to her work as a writer, who, whatever her flaws, had dealt seriously with weighty episodes in the history of mankind. But Walker’s action in this case seemed perverse: If Israelis are really the new South Africans, or the new Old Southern slave-masters of the Holy Land, shouldn’t Walker want them to read The Color Purple, perhaps with an impassioned preface, denouncing their own crimes? There was something disturbingly illogical, nearly totalitarian, in Walker’s impulse to declare Israelis—all Israelis, from teenagers in settlements, to rabid left-wingers in Tel Aviv—to be beyond the pale of readership, a contaminating influence on the text itself.
Quote: "You can't run a country from Facebook", Israel's Minister of Defense, Moshe Ya'alon, referring to Yair Lapid.
Number: 2500, the amount of Israeli academics who signed up for a program intended to combat Israel's brain drain problem.
The Middle East
To Read: Turkish journalist Mustafa Akyol hopes that Erdogan will understand that Majority rule is not enough for democracy-
The big question is where Turkey will head from here. There is no reason to think that Erdogan lost too many votes in the face of these protests -- some even argue that his voting base is even more intact. But he, and his party, should now see that ballots are not the only thing that counts. In the several speeches he made after the beginning of the events, Erdogan remained defiant, while still acknowledging "mistakes" in police behavior. Meanwhile President Abdullah Gul, who comes from the same political camp as Erdogan but has repeatedly proven more moderate and liberal, declared, "in a democracy, elections are not everything" and "the messages [of the protesters] have been taken."
The optimistic view is that these protests will be watershed event that will help shape a more mature Turkish democracy. Erdogan and his political allies will restrain their hubris and seek more consensus than confrontation and imposition. The other alternative is that Erdogan, as his instincts and his hardcore supporters demand, will maintain his intimidating style, turning Turkey into a fully illiberal democracy -- and putting it on the path to be shaken again and again by massive protests.
Quote: "Our supreme leader says developing a bomb is religiously forbidden”, Iranian Presidential contender Ali Akbar Velayati about Iran's nuclear program.
Number: 6, the number of months in prison activist Ahmed Douma was sentenced to for insulting President Morsi.
The Jewish World
To Read: Brent Sasley is excited about Israel's recent decision to fund non-Orthodox Rabbis-
Implementation of the plan will take time, and different rules will govern the payment of Orthodox versus non-Orthodox rabbis. But that a government institution would go this far is very significant, because of the monopoly on state-funded religious activities that the haredim (ultra-Orthodox) have held since the establishment of the state in 1948. The move gives non-Orthodox denominations, like Reform and Conservative Judaism, something like equal status—at least at the community level—to haredi officials and practitioners. In short, this is part of the process of the breaking down of Orthodox control over religion in the state and the end of the disenfranchisement of non-Orthodox Jews. If that sounds overly dramatic, that’s because it is.
Quote: “By issuing this resolution, the Jewish Federations are giving voice to the strong desire across our community to resolve this critical issue and ensure that all Jews can experience the most spiritually powerful place in Judaism”, JFNA President Jerry Silverman's on his board's decision to accept the Sharansky Kotel proposal.
Number: 50%, Half of all respondents to a survey on attitudes toward Jews in France said French Jews are closer to Israel than to their own republic.