To Read: Terrorism expert David Schanzer tries to understand why terrorism is still so rare in the US-
Then why doesn't it happen more often?
The main reason is that there just aren't that many would-be terrorists in the United States. Even though we live in a violent society where about 15,000 murders occur every year, terrorism is a specialized form of violence that is attractive to only a very few people. Most violent crime results from domestic confrontations, the illegal drug trade, and ordinary street-level disputes. Terrorism, however, is the use of violence to advance a political purpose. Terrorists generally have deep grievances about the state of the world and want to draw attention to their causes through the most dramatic fashion possible -- the use of violence to cause death and destruction.
Quote: “Military intervention at this point could hinder humanitarian operations. It could embroil the United States in a significant, lengthy and uncertain military commitment, strain international alliances and have the unintended consequences of bringing the United States into a broader regional conflict or proxy war”, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel about intervention in Syria.
Number: 53, the number of publicly known attempted terrorist attacks in the US since 9/11.
To Read: Ruth Gavison discusses Israel's one of a kind public Jewish experience:
Israel is unique in allowing Jewish pluralism beyond the realm of religion. The jury is still out on the processes that Regev Ben David describes and other, related processes. Two indications of the complexity of the situation may be the mixed responses within religious circles to Micah Goodman, one of the mentors of the congregation Regev Ben David describes, and his own ambivalence towards the fate of the chief rabbinate. Even more telling are the responses to Calderon’s Knesset speech. While many—religious and non-religious—welcomed it, others criticized it vehemently. Cultural secular Zionists complained that she admitted a sense of cultural hollowness and superficiality, which she filled by learning the Talmud instead of tapping non-religious cultural sources. In doing so, they said, she in fact returned to seeing religion as the shared culture of all Jews. Some religious people complained that she was again misusing a religious text in a non-religious way. Political leftists charged she legitimated a dialogue with right-wing religious individuals and groups without understanding the deep connections between their religious positions and their political disregard for the rights of Palestinians or for the political aspects of relations between state and religion in Israel.
At this stage, these trends are not yet easily translatable into terms of state and religion or even to predicted positions on political issues in this sphere. But the mixed and nuanced reactions indicate that what we see is a flux of cultural, religious and political stances. We see many responses of the ‘black-and-white’, ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ variety. The fact that there are so many different ‘us’-groups, and so many coalitions between them, however, mitigates the starkness of the picture.
Quote: “Israel got a plus-up in the budget, I think to $3.1 billion total. But that is subject to sequester, as is everything, and we’re not able to undo that”, John Kerry, warning about the possible effects of the sequestration on US-Israel aid.
Number: $22m, the worth of information technology services Palestinians import from Israel.
The Middle East
To Read: Turkish Journalist Asli Aydintasbas contrasts Turkey's regional ambitions with the US' Middle East fatigue:
Of course, pax-Ottomanica is mostly a political fantasy at the moment. For Turkey to fill the leadership vacuum in the Middle East, decades of economic growth and political integration are required. Arabs now live in nation-states and political identities have become far more layered and complicated than a century ago. Arab states now have independent economic power, and while most envy the Turkish model, they do not long for its hegemony. Still, dreams matter. If it feels like imperial sunset in America, there can be felt in Turkey the pull of old imperial glory.
Quote: "The West paid heavily for funding al Qaeda in its early stages in Afghanistan. Today it is supporting it in Syria, Libya and other places, and will pay a heavy price later in the heart of Europe and the United States", Bashar Assad in an interview.
Number: 4,500, the age of the oldest harbor in the world which was found in Egypt.
The Jewish World
To Read: Rabbi Nathan Slifkin tells the remarkable story of the gentile lion hunter who lead the Jewish legion in WW1:
Patterson clashed repeatedly with antisemitic officers in the British Army. Once, when a visiting brigadier called one of his soldiers “a dirty Jew,” Patterson demanded an apology, ordering his men to surround the brigadier with bayonets until he did so. The apology was produced, but Patterson was reprimanded by General Allenby. On another occasion, Patterson discovered that one of his Jewish soldiers had been sentenced to execution for sleeping at his post. Patterson circumvented the chain of authority and contacted Allenby directly in order to earn a reprieve. The reprieve came, but a notoriously antisemitic brigadier by the name of Louis Bols complained about Patterson’s interference to General Shea. Shea summoned Patterson and, rather than discipline him, revealed that his children were great fans of The Man-Eaters of Tsavo [Patterson's lion hunting memoir]. The Jewish Legion fought well, and Palestine was liberated from the Turks. But Patterson himself was the only British officer in World War One to receive no promotion at all – a result of his outspoken efforts on behalf of the Jewish People.
Quote: “Jews are not a footnote to Polish history”, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, chief curator of the newly opened Jewish Museum in Warsaw.
Number: 14-18%, the estimated public support for Greece's neo-Nazi party 'The Golden Dawn'.