May 7, 2013 | 3:26 am
Headline: Kerry meeting with Putin on Syria
To Read: Foreign Relations Council fellow Ray Takeyh examines historical cases of successful US policy shifts and tries to understand what these usually entail-
In essence, for the United States to move from failure to success, three things must happen. Failure must be seen as posing a cataclysmic threat to both national security and the political fortunes of the incumbent party. A plausible alternative strategy must be evident. And a senior policy maker who enjoys presidential trust and confidence must embrace that alternative, convince the president of its viability and subtly impose it on the system.
Quote: “Those people making the argument that the Syrian air defense system is some kind of formidable barrier, their argument is weakened by the Israeli actions”, Jeffrey White, a former Defense Intelligence Agency official, about the possible effects of Israel's airstrikes on American policy.
Number: 26,000, the number of people who claim they were sexually assaulted in the US military in the past year but never reported the attack.
To Read: Eyal Zisser writes about Israel's considerable strategic gains from the Arab Spring and the Syrian crisis-
Much has been said about Israel's strategic losses as a result of the Arab Spring, which toppled friendly regimes and unleashed destabilizing chaos along Israel's borders. Terrorists, some of them inspired by al-Qaida, thrive in such fragile and turbulent conditions. And so, the calm that has characterized the Syrian front in the wake of the Yom Kippur War has been supplanted by skirmishes between the Syrian rebels and the Assad regime, which have repeatedly spilled over into Israeli territory.
But the Arab Spring, which has left the Syrian regime mired in a bloody civil war the past two years, has also increased Israel's freedom of operation to levels not seen in years. After all, the Syrian military is in decline and has lost some of its firepower. What's more, it is now singularly focused on the survival of the Assad regime as it counters the rebels. Thus, its ability to retaliate in the face of an Israeli strike has been severely compromised.
Quote: “Under Assad it takes 104 days to get a building permit. For us it’s 212. Listen, friends, if I were in your shoes, I’d consider moving my business to Damascus”, Israel's Economy and trade minister Naftali Bennett, discussing the bureaucracy facing Israel's small businesses.
Number: 40,000, the number of families which will be pushed under the poverty line if Israel's economic plan is implemented, according to Israel's head of national insurance, Prof. Shlomo Mor Yossef.
The Middle East
To Read: Bill Keller believes the US needs to remember that Syria is not 'another Iraq' and to stop treating it as such-
Of course, there are important lessons to be drawn from our sad experience in Iraq: Be clear about America’s national interest. Be skeptical of the intelligence. Be careful whom you trust. Consider the limits of military power. Never go into a crisis, especially one in the Middle East, expecting a cakewalk.
But in Syria, I fear prudence has become fatalism, and our caution has been the father of missed opportunities, diminished credibility and enlarged tragedy.
Quote: "The more unpopular we [Brotherhood] are in certain circles, the more radical we become. Prosecutions for defamation, insulting the president and offending religion come thick and fast", an imaginary first person account of the Muslim brotherhood's thoughts, created by 'reporters without borders'.
Number: 11, the number of ministerial shuffles taking place today in Egypt's government.
The Jewish World
To Read: Radiologist Daniel Eisenberg explores the Halacha's view of medicine, and the curious Talmudic saying 'the best of doctors are bound for hell'-
…we can easily understand why, despite the normative Jewish attitude that considers healing to be a mitzvah, even in the most expansive Jewish approach to medicine there are limits to the authorization to heal. Physicians are granted a mandate to heal. However, it is unequivocally clear from halacha that permission is granted to a physician to treat a patient only when he can offer that patient therapy that can be reasonably expected to be efficacious. This, at times, may include even experimental treatments that could potentially be beneficial. But when a physician cannot offer effective therapy, cannot alleviate pain, and cannot cure the patient, he or she ceases to function as a physician. In such a case, he or she has no more of a license than anyone else to cause harm to another person.
Judaism believes that physicians are given both a great opportunity and an awesome responsibility. The mandate to heal is, essentially, a command to rise to the challenge and do God’s work effectively, honestly, and responsibly.
Quote: "This will be the first time this honour has been bestowed by our country, and I cannot imagine a more fitting individual upon whom to bestow it", Australian PM Jill Gillard, upon naming Raoul Wallenberg as the fist honorary Australian citizen.
Number: 90, the percentage of Hungary's 100,000 Jews who still refuse to publicly disclose their Jewishness.
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