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Jewish Journal

 

December 4, 2013

by Shmuel Rosner

December 4, 2013 | 4:05 am

Free Syrian Army fighters shout "Allahu Akbar"
near Deraa (Reuters / Handout)

The US

Headline: U.S., Allies Reach Out to Syria's Islamist Rebels

To Read: Victor Davis Hanson imagines a world in which several hegemonies take over what used to be US dominance overseas-

The world as we once knew it is insidiously vanishing amid utopian blather about a new Russia, a new Iran, and a new China. In its place is emerging something like the wild world of 1803–1815 or 1936–1945. If the U.S. is either spiritually or fiscally incapable of exercising its old leadership, others will step into the vacuum. The result will not be an agreed-upon international order, but one of regional hegemons. When the tired federal marshal is three days’ ride away, the owners of the local big spreads will decide what is and is not the law — and the vulnerable homesteaders will have to make the necessary adjustments.

Quote: "While you need some Obama “cool” to finalize a deal with Iran, to see the potential for something new and to seize it, you also need some Bibi crazy — some of his Dr. Strangelove stuff and the occasional missile test", Thomas Friedman muses on how Netanyahu and Obama complete each other.

Number: 53, the percentage of Americans who believe that the US plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader than it did a decade ago.

 

Israel

Headline: Source: 14 EU countries in favor of banning settlements products

To Read: George Friedman tries to explain why Israel is really unnerved about the recent regional developments-

In the end, Israel is a small and weak power. Its power has been magnified by the weakness of its neighbors. That weakness is not permanent, and the American relationship has changed in many ways since 1948. Another shift seems to be underway. The Israelis used to be able to depend on massive wellsprings of support in the U.S. public and Congress. In recent years, this support has become less passionate, though it has not dried up completely. What Israel has lost is twofold. First, it has lost control of America's regional strategy. Second, it has lost control of America's political process. Netanyahu hates the U.S.-Iran talks not because of nuclear weapons but because of the strategic shift of the United States. But his response must remain measured because Israel has less influence in the United States than it once did.

Quote:  "Ron will be extremely important to Washington and the White House because they know he’s very close to the prime minister, that speaking to him is like speaking to Netanyahu; that’s a very rare thing”, Nathan Sharansky commenting on his protégé who presented his credentials to President Obama yesterday.

Number: 66, beloved Israeli comedian Sefi Rivlin died yesterday aged 66.

 

The Middle East

Headline: Egypt president ‘to approve’ constitution

To Read: Moises Naim points out that Iran's current government is made out of technocrats and argues that it might be less risky to take a bet on them than on tightening sanctions-

But the big strategic question is whether testing Iran’s intentions through negotiations is riskier than continuing to sanction and threaten to bomb it. As naive as assuming that everyone in the Iranian government is ready for a more peaceful integration of their country with the rest of the world is to assume that the status quo—the combination of stringent economic sanctions, sabotage, and the threat of military action—is sustainable and desirable. The latter strategy is as risky, if not more, as one of giving a controlled and cautious chance to Tehran’s doctors to change Iran’s dangerous and ruinous policies—and redefine the politics of the Middle East. They deserve that chance. Let’s hope they succeed.

Quote: “We have concerns about what sort of concessions the Americans will give. Will they anoint Iran as a regional superpower? The idea of Iran having hegemonic power is an absolute red line for all the Arab states”, Mustafa Alani, the Dubai-based director of security and terrorism studies at the Gulf Research Center, commenting on Iran's regional ambitions and the possibility of regional violence.

Number: 38%, Turkey's approval rate in Egypt (it was reportedly 86% in 2011).

 

The Jewish World

Headline: Bloomberg to use $1 million Genesis Prize for Israeli-Palestinian economic ties

To Read: Josh Nathan Kazis reports about new attitudes toward intermarriage in the Conservative movement-

A top Conservative movement official thinks that Conservative rabbis should be allowed to participate in interfaith weddings.

Now explicitly barred by the movement, the proposal — put forward by Rabbi Charles Simon of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs — is one of a handful of new efforts by Conservative rabbis to loosen restrictions on participation by non-Jews in synagogue life.

Quote: “Morocco’s emergence as the go-to place for the Israeli mafia is very bad for Muslim-Jewish relations there, and many Moroccan Jews know it. The last thing we need is a suspected sex offender”, Sam Ben Chetrit, president of the World Federation of Moroccan Jewry, commenting on the influx of Israeli fugitives to Morocco.

Number: 1,600 the number of participants in an internet based survey which concluded that Israelis who live in the US 'adopt the views of American Jews'

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