To Read: Doyle McManus doesn't think that Americans are actually isolationsts (they're just skeptical)-
With Syria, it became clear that Obama's request for authority to intervene would be rebuffed. One result is that Americans look and sound more isolationist than they really are. That heightens a challenge that Obama and his successors already faced: not only dealing with a crisis in Syria but rebuilding a national consensus in favor of engagement with the world.
Quote: "[the agreement might be seen as] an act of provocative weakness on America's part", Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain comment on the new Syria deal.
Number: 56, the percentage of Americans who believe that the US can trust Israel.
To Read: Yoaz Hendel takes a look at the effects of the Yom Kippur war on his generation-
The children of the winter of 1973 were born into a country where there is no faith in the leadership, because one must never follow politicians blindly. A country where one must not talk about victory and decision, because in the battlefield there are only losers and commissions of inquiry. A country where in order for one not to become – God forbid –overly patriotic, military parades disappeared from the street and cultural heroes evade military service. A country where soldiers have been turned by everyone into small children who must be protected, and for whom a heavy price must be paid when they are taken captive, while the life of the citizens for whom the army was established has turned into a tolerable price.
And mostly a country which has put an end to the concept of solidarity, and instead sanctifies the individual. No longer a melting pot, according to Ben-Gurion's vision, no longer a new Israeli, but words like multiculturalism and diversification, which have factionalism hiding behind them.
Quote: "The whole problem is rooted in the political conflict between Israelis and Palestinians", Christoph Duenwald, the International Monetary Fund mission chief for the West Bank and Gaza, talking about the precarious state of the Palestinian economy.
Number: 130, the number of Israelis who fainted after fasting this Yom Kippur.
The Middle East
To Read: Middle East specialists Sonar Cagaptay and Parag Khanna write about the region's new tri-axis structure-
Turkish-Iranian posturing on Syria, with Ankara arguing for more than limited strikes against the regime and Tehran saying that whoever strikes President Bashar al-Assad must bear the consequences, serves as a harbinger for the birth of a new Middle East order.
Just as World War 1 transformed the Middle East by ending the Ottoman rule and creating contemporary nation states, so the Arab Spring has recalibrated this regional system by ushering in a tri-axial Middle East composed of: a Turkey-Kurdish-Muslim Brotherhood (MB) axis; an Iran-Shiite axis; and a Saudi Arabia-pro-status quo monarchies axis.
Quote: "The priority of my government will be to restore stability in the liberated areas, improve their living conditions and provide security", the Syrian opposition's new moderate Islamist PM, Ahmad Tumeh..
Number: 85, the age of former Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, who is going back to court to try to clear his name.
The Jewish World
To Read: Mark Oppenheimer discusses the idea of Judaism being a kind of language which very few people are actually fluent in these days-
These days, except for tiny Jewish minorities in gentile lands, or for the Orthodox who live among other Orthodox, Judaism is not native to anybody. Even many Israelis are now estranged from, and don’t understand, Jewish religious practice. So, for most of the Jewish world, Judaism the religion is now a learned practice. It can still give great joy and meaning to one’s life, but most of us can never practice Judaism in the easy, unearned way that, say, I can celebrate the rituals of being American: the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Super Bowl parties.
Quote: ‘‘We are closing at 7:30 on the dot and we will reopen on Saturday at 8:15 so if u need anything you have 45 mins to get what you want’’, a text message a NY dealer announcing he is closed for Shabbat.
Number: 2000, the number of Kapparot chickens which died of heat in NYC.