To Read: According to David Rothkopf, the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns are bound to effect the next generation's take on foreign policy and American intervention abroad as dramatically as Vietnam has effected this generation's perceptions:
If Vietnam seems remote, a baby-boomer nightmare far removed from the world of drones and cyberattacks, look again. The ghost of Vietnam has been omnipresent for years in planning by senior U.S. officials and military officers -- sometimes leading to successful initiatives, sometimes placing a phantom hand on the tiller of state and guiding policies into the shoals.
The officers who led U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan studied the lessons of insurgency learned in Vietnam, clearly shaping their thinking. Gen. David Petraeus, who attended West Point during the last years of the Vietnam War, titled his doctoral dissertation The American Military and the Lessons of Vietnam. In his memoir, Stanley McChrystal, the Afghanistan war general fired by President Barack Obama, tells the story of a "memorable night in Kabul" when he and diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who served in Vietnam as a young Foreign Service officer, telephoned historian Stanley Karnow to ask about the lessons that disastrous war holds for today's Afghanistan conflict. Holbrooke spoke openly and passionately about the need to avoid that fate -- an endless, costly war. But as McChrystal writes, "the lessons to be drawn were anything but incontrovertible." The same might be said about the lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq, but nonetheless we must try to identify those we can.
Quote: "We have no scheduling changes to announce. The president is looking forward to, very much, his trip to Israel and the region, and we’re on course planning that trip", White House spokesperson Jay Carni about the Obama visit.
Number: 13, the number of hours Rand Paul's filibuster speech lasted.
To Read: Aviad Kleinberg criticizes Netanyahu's denigrating attitude towards Bennett and Lapid's demand for a government without Ultra-Orthodox:
”There are boycotts of an entire public in the State of Israel, and that does not match my views,” the prime minister stated at the President's Residence. From Netanyahu's comments we can assume that refusing to join a coalition that includes the haredi parties is not a legitimate political move, but a "boycott of an entire public."
This is an odd claim when it refers to the ultra-Orthodox parties. If there is a world in which boycotting and slander is a way of life – it is the haredi world. In this world, not only does the wolf not live together with the lamb, the hasid does not live with the Lithuanian, Ashkenazi Jews do not live with Sephardic Jews and Satmar hasidim do not live with Belz hasidim. In this world, the others' schools and daughters are not kosher. And the seculars? They eat nevelot and terefot, desecrate Shabbat in public and are accompanied by prostitutes (the haredi term for secular women who dress and behave "immodestly").
Quote: “You’re not just saving Israeli lives, you save also Hamas lives and Syrian lives because there is no more war [as a result of the system]”, Iron Dome inventor, Danny Gold about the advantages of Israel's much lauded missile defense system.
Number: $235 million, the amount of money for which Israeli startup dbMotion was sold to US company Allscripts.
The Middle East
Read: MIT professor Fotini Christia believes that while the US decision to start providing humanitarian aid to Syria is welcome, the real progress could be reached by supporting Syrian women's organizations:
This is a good start, but in order to prevent further human catastrophe and the spread of Islamist extremism in Syria, Washington needs to do more. Specifically, the United States should aid opposition women's organizations. This strategy would help address the current humanitarian crisis and ensure that aid reaches its intended receipts, in addition to elevating the status of women in Syria.
Syrian women have been active in the fight against Bashar al-Assad's regime from the start, dating back to the peaceful demonstrations in early 2011 in the southern city of Dara'a. They have remained actively involved even as the fight has become bloody. I met several of these women revolutionaries during my recent trip to the rebel-controlled countryside of Idlib province and to towns on the Turkish-Syrian border. These women smuggle guns to the opposition and make improvised explosive devices in their kitchens. They work in field hospitals saving the lives of FSA fighters. They document incidents of torture and sexual violence, in the hope that such information will be useful in a future war-crimes tribunal. Whether Sunni, Kurdish, Christian, or Alawite, with hijab or without, these women are fighting for a common objective: a free Syria.
Quote: “We regret this decision to cancel the marathon but we don't want men and women running together”, Abdessalam Siyyam, cabinet secretary of the Hamas government, responding to the UN's decision to cancel the Gaza Marathon for not letting women participate.
Number: 157, the number of injured in the Port Said clashes on Wednesday.
The Jewish World
Headline: 'Haredim addressing pedophilia issues'
To Read: Tablet's Jonathan Zimmerman writes about the value of Jewish prayer from an Atheistic perspective-
I needed my experience with Humanistic Judaism to relearn what I intuitively understood from a young age: There is inherent value in saying words I do not mean, praying to a God I do not believe in, and kissing a Torah I do not believe was written by him. There is a poetic richness as a non-believer participating in this tradition, in being an “Israelite” named for a mythological story about wrestling with a fictional deity that birthed a very real people.
Although I am still unsure how, I know at least that I will continue to act out this fiction. And if that associates me with a God and superstitions I do not believe in, I accept that, because I know that within the fiction of Judaism lie more profound truths than could ever be attained outside of it.
Quote: "If we thought a compromise could be reached, we could have already done so 2,000 years ago and would not have needed all the killings and destructions", Lithuanian Haredi leader Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, about the idea of drafting Utra-Orthodox Yeshiva students.
Number: £25 million, the amount donated by Vivien Duffield for a new Jewish center and time capsule project in London.