Headline: McCain Confident Hagel Will Be Confirmed
To Read: In an interesting Interview for Foreign Affairs, Andrew Krepinevich, President of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, discusses the US defense budget, sequestration, foreign policy, and even Israel’s 'Iron Dome' missile defense program-
When this piece of legislation [sequestration] was crafted, it was sort of with the mind of nobody would be foolish enough -- (chuckles) -- to want to put anything like this into effect. And so you had the supercommittee that was set up that was supposed to come back with recommendations that would lead to sort of an informed strategically-guided set of cuts. That never happened, and so what you were left with is sequestration, and both sides in this game of chicken. Neither side seems to be willing to move off their position right now, and again, I think that's what we're looking at come March 1st.
Quote: : "It would be a huge mistake, almost an arrogant step, to suddenly be announcing this and that without listening first, so that's what I intend to do, that's what the president intends to do, but we are committed, as I've said to Minister Judeh and to others, to explore every possibility…The president is not prepared at this point in time to do more than listen to the parties, which is why he has announced he is going to go to Israel ", Secretary Kerry about the prospects of a new US peace plan being introduced to Israelis and Palestinians.
Number: 83, the percentage of Americans who believe that the prospect of a nuclear Iran is ‘a critical threat’, according to a new Gallu p poll.
To Read: A recent study by two INSS scholars examines how social and demographic trends may affect public US support for Israel-
Overall polling numbers on US pro-Israel sentiment – with their near record high of 63 percent support – could induce a false sense of security
in Israel. Looking behind the numbers, the composite of the social and demographic trends paints a starker picture: an increasingly nonreligious America, whose youngest generation of voters is signiﬁcantly less supportive of Israel than its oldest, and whose Jewish community looks set to become more religiously inclined even as the general American population seems headed in the opposite direction.
It is important to note that the three main trends working against Israel (partisan, generational, and religious) are not simply describing the same cohort. Each factor has an impact (of roughly 13-17 percentage points) almost entirely independent of the others, meaning their impact on Israel’s public standing is compounded. So, for example, an older (Silent Generation), white, Protestant Republican would most likely (79 percent) say he or she supports the US stance on Israel. However, a white, millennial, Democratic “none” would be unlikely (33 percent) to support the US stance on Israel.
Quote: “There are defensive and offensive solutions [to chemical weapons]… I don’t think this is the first problem that will occur”, IDF Chief Benny Gantz, speaking about the ‘very low’ chances of a chemical weapon attack coming from Syria
Number: 7, the number of wounded Syrians evacuated and treated by the Israeli army on Saturday.
The Middle East
To Read: The Washington Institute’s Eric Trager notes that Egypt’s many of Egypt’s revolutionaries see the revolution in a much larger and lengthier context than the west usually does-
Two years ago this week, a popular uprising ended Hosni Mubarak's thirty-year reign. Egypt's revolution is still churning, of course, and that country is now deeply polarized between the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, which has embraced many of Mubarak's autocratic tendencies in its attempt to consolidate power, and a non-Islamist opposition that fears theocratic rule in Egypt. Yet the Brotherhood and its opponents don't only disagree on what Egypt's post-Mubarak polity should look like; they also apparently disagree on when Egypt's revolution actually started, and what Egyptians really revolted against.
Indeed, for the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's revolution has been going on for centuries, and essentially boils down to a long-term effort to resist western political influence and secularism, which it views as a foreign cultural import.
Quote: "We believe that if a dialogue begins at the offices of the UN, at least at the start, between the opposition and an acceptable delegation from the Syrian government, we think this will be a start to get out of the dark tunnel", Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League joint envoy, calling for talks in Syria.
Number: 1,000, the number of Hezbollah fighters who entered Syria on Sunday alone.
The Jewish World
Headline: Israel fears for Tunisia's Jews
To Read: In an op-ed for the JPost, Gabriel Sassoon discusses the problematic phenomenon of public renunciation of dual loyalty by Jews around the round:
Why are only Jews subject to this offensive charge of “dual loyalty” so frequently? Well, the Jews are the only group of people to have been evicted from their homeland and returned thousands of years later to reclaim it. This no doubt confuses people. And perhaps it is also confusing that the name of the state, Israel, differs from the name of its dispersed people, the Jews. Perhaps it would have been simpler if the state had been called something like, “Judea,” or if Jews today called themselves instead, “Israelites.”
Perhaps then the relationship would be clearer. But the underlying reality of Jewish identity would be the same.
But while there is no doubt some confusion due to the unique history of the Jews, the answer is probably more banal: an element of self-loathing in individuals like Timerman, and a double standard for Jews that is at best ignorant and in many or even most cases a kind of veiled anti-Semitism.
Quote: "He has blamed the Jews for the scandal surrounding the sexual misconduct of priests toward young parishioners! He has argued that the Jews got even with the Catholic Church for its anti-Israel positions by arranging for the media — which they, of course, control, he said — to give disproportionate attention to the Vatican sex scandal. He then compared the Jewish controlled media with Hitler, because they are 'protagonists of what I do not hesitate to define as a persecution against the church.'’’, Alan Dershovich, opposing the papal candidacy of Cardinal Maradiaga,
Number: $1.9 million, the price Oxford and Cmbridge are trying to raise in order to acquire the Lewis-Gibson Genizah, which comprises more than 1,700 fragments of Hebrew and Arabic manuscripts dating from 9th-19th centuries.