To Read: Jeffrey Goldberg gives his take President Obama's decision to come to Israel:
President Obama heads next week to Israel, with a side trip to the West Bank and an overnight visit to Jordan. He will not be going to oversee peace negotiations, nor will he be bringing a specific peace plan with him. Instead, he's going to reintroduce himself to the region. Specifically, he's going to speak directly to the Israeli people, over the head, if necessary, of the prime minister, with whom he generally sees not eye-to-eye.
Quote: "I've met with [Netanyahu] more than any other world leader. We have a terrific, business-like working relationship", Obama on his relationship< with PM Netanyahu.
Number: 53, the record low percentage of Americans who have a negative view on Egypt.
To Read: Bar-Ilan professor Avi Bell slams the NYT for posting "pseudo intellectual bigotry":
Levine’s argument is disingenuous and biased, covered up by pretend erudition and a lot of verbiage. It is as intellectually dishonest, illogical and bigoted as the assertion that “Arabs can’t be anti-Semites because they speak a Semitic language.” Levine should be mocked for dressing up his bigotry in pseudo-intellectual demagoguery. The New York Times should be ashamed of itself for publishing the result.
Quote: "Israel can’t build settlements all over the place and say it wants a two-state solution”, former Likud minister, Dan Meridor, about the importance of freezing the building in settlements.
Number: 12, the number of people suffering serious heat-related injuries at the Tel-Aviv marathon.
The Middle East
To Read: Egyptian journalist Bassem Sabri writes about the inevitable nostalgia for Mubarak in the crazy chaos that is present day Egypt-
I, of course, cannot speak with any statistical data on how substantial or significant in size it all might or might not be, as there no polls (yet?) on the subject of Mubarak’s popularity and perception. But on a personal observation level, the amount of people who are beginning to look at Mubarak (once more) in a more positive light appears to be significantly increasing, and after many had actually grown to accept the revolution’s narrative of him as nothing more than a corrupt despot. Some have become outright Mubarak supporters who wish he, his regime, and/or at least the apparent national condition of that era could return. But seemingly more have just acquired a somewhat more sympathetic or accepting view of him.
Quote: “Critics legitimately wonder how much those who took decisions about intervention in Iraq really knew about the history of those troubled regions", Lord Butler of Brockwell, who chaired the inquiry into the use of intelligence in the lead up to the invasion, blaming Tony Blair for not reading up on Iraq's history before the invasion.
Number: 40-50, the number of weekly sorties the Syrian air force is carrying out, according to IDF intelligence officer Aviv Kochavi.
The Jewish World
To Read: A Tablet magazine article takes a look at how twitter may be conducive to European anti-Semitism:
In the aftermath of World War II, most European countries adopted strict laws criminalizing hate speech. But Twitter is a creature of the Internet, whose developers have taken a libertarian approach to the free flow of ideas and information, and of the United States, where freedom of speech trumps most other values. Its laissez-faire attitudes conflict with what Jews in other countries see as hard-won legal protections.
Quote: “The imams’ speeches are more hateful than they were 10 years ago”, Nicole Yardeni, a Jewish leader in Toulouse, talking about the tense life of the jewish community there.
Number: 1000, the number of Jews currently residing in Thessaloniki, 70 years after the Nazi deportation.
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