To Read: Eliot Abrams disapproves of the US changing the rules of its engagement with its allies in the Middle East-
Now those rules can be broken in the face of official American indifference—disguised, to be sure, in briefings, speeches, and spin as a new strategic approach. “We have to be humble,” Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told the columnist David Ignatius last week. Ignatius, a reliable Obama apologist, called it “strategic humility,” but even he acknowledged that it is “quite dangerous.”
To those whose futures are put in peril by it, the Americans appear to be imposing huge new risks on nations that have been their friends for decades. The New York Times called that a more “modest” Middle East policy, but the only thing “modest” here is the vision and ability of those in charge in the White House.
Quote: "The Egyptian government is committed to diversifying its relationship, not at the expense of our friends but over and above ... . This is not a position against an American policy, it's a position that is consistent with Egypt's interests", Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy talking to Reuters about US-Egypt relations ahead of his meeting with John Kerry.
Number: $25m, the amount of money demanded by the Michigan man who claims to have given the FBI info leading to the killing of Bin Laden.
To Read: Veteran journalist Yaron London paints a grim picture of the vast multi-faceted cultural segregation in Israeli society-
The geographic segregation enables the entrenched to maintain their unity, and their unity encourages entrenchment in camps. The Zionist ruling idea was "one nation," but it appears the battle between trends of unification and division within Israeli society was decided in favor of the latter. The unificationist rhetoric ("The shared fate of the Jewish people") and the touching attempts to promote brotherhood (meetings between secular and religious, Arab and Jewish youth) retreat in the face of hostile ideologies and the uncompromising economic facts. This influences the building up of the physical fortifications.
Quote: “The Labor Party must be courageous and join the government in order to help advance it [the peace process]”, Justice Minister Tipi Livni calling the Labor party to replace the Jewish Home party in the coalition.
Number: NIS 18.6b, The portion of the defense budget allocated for salaries, pensions, rehabilitation and payments to families is hitting a record high of NIS 18.6 billion this year (more than Israel's entire welfare budget).
The Middle East
To Read: Following the recently exposed spying scandal, Jonathan Schanzer takes a look at Turkey's involvement in the Iranian nuclear program-
Lazy Israeli spycraft or not, Turkey appears to have deliberately burned the Israelis. More to the point, this episode appears to have benefited the Iranian nuclear program. And as the record suggests, this is not the first time the Turks have given the Iranians a boost as they move closer to the bomb.
Quote: “In Egypt, if you say anything you will take a nickname like a terrorist or a traitor... Both choices are very bad, so we stopped playing”, Andrew Adil Khaled, 23, one of the young Egyptian Arab Spring supporters who simply gave up.
Number:600,000, the number of Syrian refugees Jordan is currently hosting.
The Jewish World
To Read: Ben Dror Yemini believes that Israel must recognize and emphasize the historical importance of the expulsion of Jews from Arab lands ('the Jewish Nakba')-
Jews from Arab countries do not forget. Historians with intellectual honesty not forget. This forgetfulness is not conducive to peace. On the contrary, it contributes to disruption and distortion and reinforces the position of the Palestinian refugees. We should remind both Benjamin Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni, and thus inform world opinion. Not to create an obstacle to peace. On the contrary. Peace will be achieved only when the Jewish Nakba and the Jewish refugee issue are on the public agenda and the negotiating table. It’s an important truth after decades of silence. There is no need to abandon it.
Quote: “Make no mistake about it. If what we are seeing now is the beginning of a deep change in American foreign policy, it will be bad for the Jews”, Abe Foxman giving the US some foreign policy advice in the name of the Jewish people, a couple of days ago at the AIPAC convention.
Number: 11,300, an EBay vendor tried to sell an authentic Auschwitz uniform for 11,300 Sterling.