To Read: According to Graham Fuller, the slipping of the US' global standing isn't necessarily such a bad thing-
New states are emerging across the global scene with increased skills and abilities of their own. Are their interests in the future shape of the world truly contrary to our own essential interests? Is it all a zero sum game? Shouldn’t they bear some of the burden we so long cherished? Can’t we unleash the real and constructive talents of America in ways that serve ourselves and broader humanity instead of ceaselessly patrolling the world for miscreants on street corners?
Yes, the world is changing, and we are falling ever further behind trying to operate our old model. The Right is right: It is scary. Historical transitions are never smooth. But looking backward is no way to move forward. And those allies that loved our old way of doing things – well, they may be part of the problem too.
Quote: “[the report is] absolutely, 100 percent false”, WH spokesperson Bernadette Meehan denying Israeli reports about how the US and Iran have been secretly working on a deal for the past year.
Number: 5000-7000, the number of Libyan security force members the US military is planning to train.
To Read: Shimon Shiffer is not impressed by the French President's declarations of love in Israel-
Indeed, Hollande has promised to remain our friend forever. But the complicated history of our relations with France teaches us one lesson: Things could change. Remember what de Gaulle said about Israel in November 1967: "An elite people, domineering and sure of themselves." Yesterday's allies became today's rivals.
When it comes to relations between countries, one must not be impressed by embraces and declarations of love.
Quote: “We are not the United States of America, of course, and believe it or not they have more capabilities than us. But we have enough to stop the Iranians for a very long time", Israel's former national security adviser Yaakov Amidror, talking about the military option against Iran.
Number: $50,000, the amount of money given to each released Palestinian prisoner by the Palestinian authority.
The Middle East
To Read: FP's Column Lynch examines the UN's dilemma with Assad, who has been consistently restricting humanitarian aid to those who support him. Should they denounce him or opt for cooperation?-
Security Council diplomats say that Amos, a British national who was put forward for the U.N.'s top humanitarian job by her government, is concerned that the pursuit of a more confrontational approach toward Syria will backfire. She worries that it will feed a perception in Damascus that the U.N. aid effort is linked to the Western powers' attempts to bring about the fall of the regime. She has tried to encourage the combatants' allies -- including Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia -- to use their influence on the fighters to permit the delivery of relief. "The U.N. doesn't want to be perceived as being politicized," said one Security Council diplomat. The U.N. relief agency, the diplomat said, is concerned that it could be accused of "playing politics with the West."
Quote: “That’s the problem — no one has attempted this before in a civil war, and no one is willing to put troops on the ground to protect this stuff, including us”, and American official commenting on the difficulty of getting the chemical weapons out of Syria.
Number: 1250 miles, the range of Iran's new drone, which was unveiled yesterday.
The Jewish World
To Read: Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo muses about the problematic state of Jewish education in our times, a problem most religious Jews don't even recognize-
Jewish education today is, for the most part, producing a generation of religious Jews who know more and more about Jewish observance but think less and less about what it means. This is even truer of their teachers. Many of them are great talmudic scholars, but these very scholars don’t realize that they have drowned in their vast knowledge. The more they know, the less they understand.
Just as a young child may think it is an act of kindness to lift a fish out of an aquarium and “save” it, so these rabbis may be choking their students while thinking they are providing them with spiritual oxygen. Doing so, they rewrite Judaism in ways that are totally foreign to the very ideas that it truly stands for.
Quote: “And I loved nothing more in life than my pictures”, Cornelius Gurlitt, son of the Nazi who looted the much talked about looted paintings.
Number: NIS 80 million, the budget the Hungarian government has allocated for a new Holocaust museum in Budapest.