To Read: David Ignatius gives his perspective on what the Russian proposal (which was only suggested following a US threat) shows about the US, the Middle East, and Israel-
Given the United States’ profound reluctance to fight another war in the Middle East, Israel knows it will have to take responsibility for its own security, including any military action against Iran. The good news is that Israeli power is robust and credible. Both Assad and the Iranians seem to be deterred from reckless action, and the Russians (in secret) are cooperative. Credible threats of force prevent wars.
Quote: “Today’s action is critical in helping prevent broad sanctions from isolating ordinary Iranians and ensuring that humanitarian needs of ordinary people do not fall prey to political disputes between the U.S. and Iranian governments", Jamal Abdi, Political Director of the National Iranian American Council, welcoming the goodwill exchanges between the US and Iran.
Number: 8, eight percent of Americans believe that the situation in Syria is 'the most important problem facing America today' ('healthcare' got 10 percent).
To Read: Yossi Klein Halevi examines the difference between the left and the right's reaction to the Yom Kippur war-
The result of the vehement argument between left and right over the lessons of the Yom Kippur War is that a majority of Israelis became centrists. The left convinced mainstream Israel of the need for territorial concessions for peace. The right convinced it that peace isn’t possible so long as the Arab world rejects Israel’s legitimacy.
The lesson for the Jewish people on the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War is humility. No Jewish group – political or cultural – has all the answers. Each camp has grasped something true, essential, about our predicament; each speaks for a legitimate Jewish value. A healthy people knows how to listen to its own competing voices, sift for insights no matter what their ideological source.
Quote: “It betrays the principles of sportsmanship and fair play for the IOC to be headed by someone who actively participates in ongoing Israel boycott campaign measures”, Deidre Berger, director of the American Jewish Committee Berlin Ramer Institute, commenting on the appointment of Thomas Bach as the president of the International Olympic Committee.
Number: 36, the number of Byzantine-era coins found near the Temple Mount.
The Middle East
To Read: FP's Yochi Dreazen explains why Putin's plan for Syria's chemical weapons won't work-
If the U.S. and Syria came to a deal -- a very, very big if -- there would still be one major wrinkle. Rofer said that the only two organizations who really know how to get rid of chemical weapons are the Russia and American militaries. Given the amount of time it would take to build and then operate the disposal facilities, those specially-trained troops would need to stay in Syria for years. In a war-weary U.S., keeping that many boots on the ground for that long would be an extremely hard sell.
Quote: "This isn't simply burning the leaves in your backyard. It's not something you do overnight, it's not easy, and it's not cheap", Mike Kuhlman, chemical weapons disposal expert and one of the interviewees in Dreazen's piece, about the prospects of getting rid of Syria's weapons.
Number: 258, the number of interviews the UN team conducted for their new report on Syria, which concludes that both sides have committed serious war crimes.
The Jewish World
Headline: Poles admit destroying Holocaust hideout
To Read: Adam Kirsch prefers studying Talmud to going to Synagogue-
In fact, I find something liberating about making Talmud, rather than prayer, the main focus of my Jewish observance. As an adult, I have never been a regular synagogue-goer, and as Abigail Pogrebin noted recently in Tablet, the High Holidays are a time when the problems with the Jewish prayer service are especially acute. Most of us don’t really understand the Hebrew words we’re saying, and if we do understand them, we probably don’t believe them. Reading Talmud, on the other hand, engages all the parts of the intellect that services leave dormant. Instead of asking us to passively agree with problematic theological ideas—for instance, the belief that during these 10 days God is deciding who will live and die over the next year—the Talmud actively engages the intellect in concrete problems of logic and interpretation.
Quote: "What Hugo Boss did was very offensive to the Jews", Comedian Russell Brand's reply to a complaint about the offensiveness of the comments he made during a GQ award show.
Number: 30,000 to 50,000, the number of Karaites living in Israel.