Jewish Journal


September 13, 2013

by Shmuel Rosner

September 13, 2013 | 3:25 am

Pope Francis,
Photo by Reuters/Tony Gentile

The US

Headline: U.S.-Russia talks on Syria chemical arsenal begin on tense note

To Read: According to Eliot Cohen, Obama doesn't get to say that the US is 'tired of war'-

For a president to confess to war- weariness is to confess weakness.

It is the business of the commander in chief to inspire, either with tempered optimism or grim determination. He fails in his duty if he tells his subordinates, his people and the world that he is weary of the burden that he assiduously sought. In their dark moments, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who presided over infinitely more consequential and bloodier wars than Barack Obama, were undoubtedly war-weary. Can anyone imagine them proclaiming it to the world?

Quote: “We had hopes, it was a dream, and now it’s gone and we feel disappointed. We should completely cut off our relationship with him — Obama has completely lost his credibility”, Moaz al-Yousef, a Syrian brigadier commander commenting on the Syrian rebels' attitude towards President Obama.

Number: 49, the (lowest ever) percentage of Americans who have a great deal/fair amount of trust and confidence in the federal government when it comes to handling international problems.



Headline: Israel-EU deal on settlement guidelines unlikely before November

To Read: Ben Birenbaum believes Netanyahu is dead serious about attacking Iran-

Based on my reporting, I’ve become increasingly convinced in recent months that—barring an unforeseen diplomatic breakthrough—Israel will strike Iran before the end of next year, and conceivably well before then. The officials who order that strike may never know whether Congress would have voted down the Syria resolution and whether Obama would have acted anyways. But it doesn’t take negative answers to these questions for Israel to be concerned. The questions themselves are worrisome enough.

Quote: “It was a foolish idea. We had to get immediately to a permanent agreement, as we did with Egypt, as we did with Jordan, rather than to open up the process for the oppositions on both sides”, Yossi Beilin, architect of the Oslo agreements says that it was a mistake to allow for five years of Palestinian autonomy before discussing a permanent agreement.

Number: 40, the Knesset is marking 40 years to the Yom Kippur war (make sure to take a look at our ongoing exchange with Yigal Kipnis on the subject).


The Middle East

Headline: Elite Syrian Unit Scatters Chemical Arms Stockpile

To Read: Lionel Beehner reports about growing anti-American sentiments among Syria's refugees-

 A strong undercurrent of anti-Americanism also is shaping young minds within the camp. Uprooted and uneducated young men sit idle, spreading rumors and videos of violence back home via social media sites -- Zaatari has its own Facebook page -- often devoid of context. Boredom and lack of education make for a potent cocktail. Kids I interviewed play a version of war, where one team is the Assad regime and the other is the FSA.

Such populations may be nurturing a new generation of angry Muslim youths who view the United States, and especially its president, as hypocritical at best, and enablers of Assad’s war crimes at worst.

Quote:  "The Assad regime has not lived up to any of its pledges, it has won time for new massacres and continues to do so", Turkish PM Erdogan commenting on the Syrian regime's achievements.

Number: 2, Egypt (its unelected President, that is) has decided to extend its state of emergency for two more months.


The Jewish World

Headline: Pope Francis Praises Jews for Having ‘Kept Their Faith in God’

To Read: Brandeis University's Marc Zvi Brettler points out that the idea of teshuva and forgiveness in the bible are quite different from what we have grown accustomed to in Yom-Kippur-

Although the noun teshuvah is never found in the Bible in the sense of repentance, personal and communal teshuvah is very much part of biblical theology, and is often expressed through the root shuv “to (re)turn,” the basis of the word teshuvah.  Teshuvah  is not, however, emphasized in the few biblical texts that deal with Yom Kippur. The longest such text, Leviticus 16, outlining the detailed Tabernacle (mishkan) and later Temple rites connected with Yom Kippur, notes (v. 30): “For on this day atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you of all your sins; you shall be clean before the Lord (כִּי־בַיּוֹם הַזֶּה יְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיכֶם לְטַהֵר אֶתְכֶם מִכֹּל חַטֹּאתֵיכֶם לִפְנֵי יְ-הוָה תִּטְהָרוּ).” Nevertheless, the chapter suggests that this is accomplished via a complex set of rituals, not via teshuvah.

Quote: "This is a territorial war by rabbis who don't want to cede power", Anat Hoffman talks to the JPost.

Number: 34,  the temperature in Israel is expected to reach 34°C (93°F) on Friday and 32°C (90°F), making this the hottest Yom Kippur in over a decade.

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