To Read: Wading into the Middle East morass
Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post believes that Obama should employ a steady but low-key pressure on the two sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
All this is not to argue that Obama should ignore the Israelis and Palestinians or abandon the cause of Palestinian statehood, which in the long run will be a building block of a modernized Middle East. U.S. neglect could be taken as license by Israeli nationalists to take steps to obstruct that future state; it could also prompt Palestinians to embrace more provocative measures, from firing more missiles from Gaza at Israeli cities to inciting a new uprising in the West Bank.
Quote: God is good. He really is Florida resident Susan Crockett, who escaped with minor injuries after a four-seater plane hit her home, killing all three people aboard
Number: 44% The predicted percentage of American households that will have a tablet device by the end of the year
To Read: How Shaul Mofaz became the Israeli George Costanza
Under Mofaz's watch, Kadima has gone from the largest party to one that will be lucky to exist in the next Knesset. Asher Schechter of Haaretz ponders how this happened.
He seems to have little more ability to comprehend the world of politics than a rabbit would have in synchronized swimming. This inability is exemplified by Kadima teetering on the verge of spectacular failure. The party Mofaz heads seems poised to decline from the biggest faction in parliament to oblivion on January 22. Polls predict a stunning fall from 28 seats in the current Knesset to zero, maybe two in the next one. But Mofaz has his stellar military record, and in the crazy world of Israeli politics that will get one far. Almost to the top. Almost being the key word.
Quote: “We don’t have to be dragged into those corners. We don’t gain from these sorts of brawls.” A senior Israeli official on whether Chuck Hagel is anti-Israel
Number: 10 centimeters The amount by which the Kinneret swelled on between Sunday morning and Monday morning
The Middle East
To Read: The Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian Jewry
Khaled Fahmy of Ahram finds fault with the Muslim Brotherhood's offer for Egyptian Jews to return to their land of birth.
During the 1930s and 1940s, the Brotherhood did not view Egyptian Jews as full-fledged citizens and always doubted their loyalty to Egypt. Dozens of articles published in Brotherhood magazines were outrightly anti-Semitic and utterly failed to distinguish between Jews and Zionists. Example of anti-Semitic pronouncements and publications by Brotherhood members are too numerous to cite, however, one telling example is the article titled ‘The Threat of Jews on the Islamic and Christian Worlds’ published in the Brotherhood’s Al-Nadheer magazine in 1938 which claimed that Jews were the real colonisers of India, not the British.
Quote: The Islamic Republic supports President Assad's proposed initiative for a comprehensive solution to the crisis Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi offers hos nation's support for Assad's peace initiative for Syria
Number: 10 The number of new ministers sworn in as part of the Egyptian government's cabinet reshuffle
The Jewish World
Headline: Manhattan synagogue faces eviction
To Read: Mr. Hagel and the Jews
Hagel's confirmation hearing for the post of defense secretary should establish whether he really does have a Jewish problem, writes Elliott Abrams in the Weekly Standard.
But in the case of allegations of anti-Semitism, Hagel has not even apologized. He has remained silent, though one can expect the usual “perhaps I didn’t word that sentence as best I might have” excuse to emerge at his hearings. The question is, what might he have to apologize for? Why would anyone think he was an anti-Semite?
Quote: It is not discriminatory to prohibit federal funds for rebuilding houses of worship, because the Constitution protects religious freedom by preventing the government from funding or endorsing any religion ADL counsel Michael Lieberman weighs into a row over FEMA funding for Sandy-damaged synagogues
Number: 135 The number of anti-Semitic incidents in Austria last year, according to Jewish leader Oskar Deutsch