To Read: Leslie H. Gelb examines Presidents Obama's current options in Syria-
Obama has tried every which way to avoid any semblance of another war for America in the Middle East. It’s the last thing he wants. But he may well have reached the point where taking some limited military action is the best way to build a wall against pressures for even more escalation.
Quote: "The Iraqis never told us that they intended to use nerve gas. They didn't have to. We already knew", retired Air Force Col. Rick Francona, who was a military attaché in Baghdad during the 1988 atrocities, comments on the US' involvement in Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons.
Number: 23, Foreign Policy offers a map of 23 spots which the US will bomb if there's a no-fly zone in Syria.
Headline: 3 Palestinians killed in Qalandiya
To Read: A British entrepreneur describes what he has learned from the Israeli start-up world and tries to get to the bottom of its unparalleled success-
At conferences, I’ve seen young Israelis with little business experience not being afraid to approach top CEOs, venture capitalists, and talk with them on an equal footing.
In other countries, this may be considered rude. As an entrepreneur, I’ve certainly learned from Israelis that to get something you need to be audacious and risqué.
Quote: “The fact that Israel reflects a Western interest raises suspicion among Arabs about the true nature of democracy”, bits from a 2006 paper featuring some of Egypt's General Sisi's musings about how Israel affects democracy in the Middle East.
Number: 1, the percentage of Likud voters who want a two state solution in the West Bank, according to a new poll.
The Middle East
To Read: According to Georgetown's Ross Harrison, the question of whether what he have been seeing in the past couple of years is an 'Arab spring' or an 'Islamic spring' is genuinely tricky and there seems to be a some important differences between different countries in that respect-
The political dynamics in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, countries with weak national identities, however, are completely different. In these countries, Islamic and national identities aren’t two sides of the same coin, but rather polar opposites of one another. In the absence of strong national identities and communities, Islamic groups fill the political vacuum. But in contrast to Egypt, where national and Islamic identities are mutually reinforcing, Islamic identities in these weak states don’t strengthen the national fabric; they tear at it.
Quote: “Our policy right now is to keep the people quiet. We have to keep our people highly immunized against the extreme attitude”, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas leader, commenting on Hamas' current objectives in the tough times which the organization is facing.
Number: 55, the percentage of the (Fatah controlled) Palestinian Authority's annual budget that is allocated to Gaza (which is controlled by Hamas).
The Jewish World
To Read: Jonathan Tobin writes about Angela Merkel's important visit to Dachau-
While Merkel should be applauded for speaking out when so many persons of influence are silent, her visit to Dachau will have no meaning at all if it is seen as only a necessary effort to remember the Holocaust. Europeans have worked hard in recent years to memorialize the victims of the Nazis. But since this has happened at the same time that the efforts of living Jews to defend themselves have been viciously attacked, it’s far from clear that these memorials have much meaning. What we have learned in recent years is that a Europe that abandons Israel will inevitably begin to abandon its own Jewish citizens as well as others. It can only be hoped that Merkel’s warning is a sign that there is still time for a critical mass of European opinion to reverse this ominous trend.
Quote: "The biggest problem today between Israel and American Jews regarding religion is that Orthodox Judaism is a powerful, coercive political force in Israel", URJ President Rick Jacobs discussing religion and State in Israel.
Number: 7,500, the number of people who were murdered at the Topovske Supe concentration camp in Serbia, where Israeli architects are currently building a shopping mall.