To Read: John Traub expects a lot of agreement- perhaps too much agreement- about the limitations of US force in Obama's next administration:
The Team of Buddies, in short, are unlikely to seriously disagree with each other, or with President Obama. That should make for a smoothly carpentered, George Bush-the-elder foreign policy over the next fours years. Not bold, not brave; but well managed.
At this moment in history, Obama may need a goad more than a brake -- a reminder that despite the palpable weariness of the American people, much of the world still looks to this country for acts of leadership.
Quote: "You were on the wrong side of history", Senator John McCain criticizing and questioning Hagel about his opposition to the surge in Iraq.
Number: 3, the number of American soldiers who died in Afghanistan in January (a 4-year low)
To Read: Yizhar Hess of the Masorti movement examines the early origins of Israel's problematic status quo agreement and calls for change-
At this time, when more than one party has included a commitment to creating a new status quo in matters of religion and state in its platform, it is appropriate to take another look at this old document, if only to learn from its mistakes, and then, to quickly shred it.
Quote: "Israelis convinced themselves that there is no use in talking to the Palestinians because they’re not to be trusted. I think they’re wrong. I think the Palestinians are not to be trusted and this is exactly why we should talk to them", Lapid in an interview for TIME.
Number: 73,000, the number of newly un-employed Israelis in 2012, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.
The Middle East
Headline: US says Iran steps up Syria support
To Read: AL Mayadeen journalist Ali Hashem thinks it will take time for the Assad regime to demise-
The idea that the regime only has days remains. One reason may be the consistent underestimating of Assad and his base of support in Syria, as well as the commitment of his allies, Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah. According to a pro-Assad Lebanese politician, Arab players in Syria were warned that if the flow of weaponry and money continued, part of the battle might be transferred to the capitals and cities of the countries sending them. He added “it shouldn't be only Syrians and Syrian cities that suffer.” In any case, there is no longer any doubt that the Syria crisis is a regional conflict. As Al-Monitor wrote last month, given the many forces in play, “the ‘final days’ may be more illusion than reality".
Quote: "such an assault on Arab land is entirely rejected and represents a flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter and international law.", Egyptian foreign minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, joining other Arab leaders in condemning Israel's alleged attack
Number: 16, the number of political parties who announced they will join the massive protests today in Egypt.
The Jewish World
Headline: Jewish Agency: Don't sugar coat Israel
To Read: Adam Levick sees doesn't see 'rights' and 'freedom' as the main issues of the recent Sunday Times cartoon controversy:
The Scarfe/Sunday Times row is about more than the cartoon itself, and it is certainly not about the “right” to offend. It’s about sober but passionate pleas by a minuscule minority that decent people not afflict the historically afflicted, and to recognize their moral obligations to not provide aid and comfort to anti-Jewish racists.
We are asking genuine anti-racists to resist becoming, even if unintentionally, intellectual partners or political fellow travelers with those who trade in the lethal narratives and toxic calumnies associated with the resilient Judeophobic hatred which has caused us immeasurable pain, horrid suffering and indescribable calamities through the ages.
Quote: "In a country where the government and some of its followers have publicly accused the Jewish community of disloyalty and where the community's institutions and houses of worship have been attacked, reports of this kind of surveillance add fuel to an already incendiary atmosphere inciting prejudice and hate.", the Anti Defamation League reacting to recent reports about Venezuela's surveillance of Jews.
Number: 50m NIS, the budget of a new foreign ministry initiative aimed to bring 3,000 Jewish young, non-Jewish US leaders to Israel to combat 'industry of lies'.