May 19, 2013 | 5:22 am
Headline: Embassy Threats Grow in Mideast
To Read: David Ignatius reads the declassified Benghazi emails which were released last week-
The Benghazi e-mails have all been unclassified, of course, but they reveal one of the true secrets of U.S. national security policy — which is its lumpy inefficacy. If I were the Russian or Chinese intelligence services trying to understand how America really works (or doesn’t), I’d start here.
Take a stroll with me through these memorably inane pages. CIA officials take turns patting each other on the back with comments such as “Good question,” “Good point.” And tellingly, from the very beginning, CIA officers are looking over their shoulders for what the lawyers will say: “Make sure that nothing we are saying here is likely to impact any future legal prosecution.” This at a time when the agency’s priority, surely, should have been understanding who did the attack, not their prospective legal rights.
Quote: "The EU decided to give Kerry the time he asked for and see whether the negotiations are resumed", a European diplomat talking about John Kerry's role in the EU's decision to postpone labeling settlement products.
Number: 50, the percentage of Americans who are able to identify Syria on a map.
To Read: Veteran Military correspondent Ron Ben Yishai analyses the prospects of an Israel- Syria showdown-
In the meantime, it is safe to assume that Syria and Hezbollah will not rush to act against Israel in the Golan or along the Lebanese border, mainly because Iran has an interest in keeping Hezbollah and Syria's rocket and missile arsenals ready for action in order to deter Israel and the US from attacking its nuclear facilities. This interest will remain relevant for at least another six months, perhaps even more. Therefore, Iran will advise Assad to act with restraint, for now, even if Israel strikes Hezbollah-bound arms convoys.
Quote: “Better the devil we know than the demons we can only imagine if Syria falls into chaos, and the extremists from across the Arab world gain a foothold there”, a senior Israeli official discussing the Israeli intelligence's attitude toward Syria.
Number: 330,000, the number of Israelis who are formally 'without religion'.
The Middle East
To Read: In an article entitled 'A strong Iran is good for America', Robert Kaplan argues that the promotion of democracy should not be a top priority in the US' Middle East policy-
Weakening central authority -- not the continuation of autocracy -- remains the greatest danger to the region. Keep in mind that stability in the Middle East has never been a matter of democracy. To date, Israel has only signed peace treaties with Arab autocrats, men who ran strong states and who could purge members of their own power structures who disagreed with them. It is not democracy that the United States should primarily want, but a regional balance of power that will reduce the risk of war.
Quote: “We support and applaud the efforts, but we must be realistic”, Bashar Assad referring to the US-Russia efforts to kick start negotiations in Syria.
Number: 10, the percentage of Egyptians who are Christian.
The Jewish World
To Read: Reform Rabbi Ellen Lipmann urges the Hebrew Union College to accept intermarried rabbinical students-
It is important to remember that a rabbi is a human being. Yeshayahu Leibowitz wrote in commentary on Emor that since there is no more mikdash, the ancient Temple, the function of the service of God is the study and teaching of Torah. Therefore, those leaders who serve as teachers of Torah are otherwise just like any other human being — not intrinsically holy, as some may wish to see themselves or their leaders. The ancient priest removed his special clothing and was just an ordinary human being. Today’s rabbis may demonstrate special knowledge, but once the teaching is over, the rabbi is just a human being, not elevated above any other. If a rabbi is a Jew like all others, we should welcome rabbis who are married to non-Jews just as we welcome Jews who are married to non-Jews into our congregations.
I pray that you will use this moment to overturn a policy whose time has gone.
Quote: "The fact that this is the third time in a row that Khan Theater ads are destroyed because of the presence of a woman in them is infuriating", Danny Weiss, head of the Khan Theater, responding to yet another case of Haredim destroying dozens of the theater's ads.
Number: 87, the percentage of Greece's Jews who perished in the holocaust.
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