Jewish Journal


December 22, 2013

by Shmuel Rosner

December 22, 2013 | 4:32 am

Former Israeli PM's, Ehud Olmert and Ehud
Barak, photo by Reuters

The US

Headline: US not ready to budge on Iran role at Syria peace talks

Read: Matthew Duss argues that, although it is still early to rejoice, Kerry's Israel-Palestine peace efforts are a step up from peace efforts past-

Unlike the Obama administration’s first go at the peace process, the new approach seems to appreciate the ways in which the Israeli public has changed over the past decade, particularly with regard to perceptions of security. When President Obama named George Mitchell as his special envoy on Middle East peace in January 2009, Mitchell essentially tried to pick up where he left off in 2001, when he chaired a fact-finding commission on the outbreak of the Second Intifada. According to a number of Israelis I’ve spoken to, Mitchell’s approach failed to understand the way in which the Second Intifada, which saw numerous terror attacks inside Israel, traumatized the Israeli public. Even as a solid majority of Israelis continue to support the two-state solution, they remain far more cautious about steps, such as a withdrawing troops from the West Bank, that, even if necessary to achieve such a solution, could potentially result in a return of such attacks.

Quote: "I'm not surprised there's been talk from members of Congress about new sanctions. I think the politics of trying to look tough on Iran are often good when you're running for office or if you're in office", President Obama responding to his Congressional rivals' attempt to add new sanctions on Iran.

Number: 1,700 the number of deployed nuclear warheads the US currently has on call.



Headline: US, UK spy agencies eavesdropped Israeli officials

To Read: Former Rabin aide Eitan Haber isn't excited by the newly revealed spying scandal-

The "red phones" on the desks of the prime minister, defense minister, chief of staff and others likely went yellow with shame over the weekend: Edward Snowden made a laughing stock out of them and told the entire world that the Americans are wiretapping Israel as well. But the media celebration over Snowden's revelations put a smile on the faces of many who ever served in the top ranks of Israel's government, Defense Ministry and General Staff.

Quote:  “the years-long active surveillance the US committed against Israel’s leadership clarify at long last one painful point – that the punishment given to Jonathan Pollard crossed the line of reasonability long ago”, Opposition leader Isaac Herzog claiming that the new surveillance scandal shows that Pollard should be released.

Number: 1000, the number of people who participated in a demonstration in favor of legalizing Marijuana in TA.  


The Middle East

Headline: Arab League rejects U.S. peace proposal

To Read: Soner Cagaptay explains why the EU and Turkey both need each other-

The European Union’s recent progress report on Turkey’s membership harshly criticized Mr. Erdogan’s government. Yet, smartly, Europe has not pulled back, but moved closer. Leaders in Brussels are aware that Turkey will pivot further away if accession does not again become a reality. This would have devastating implications for Europe’s growing community of restless Muslims, many of whom see Turkey’s acceptance or rejection as a Union member as a test of whether there is room for them on the Continent.

And even the staunchest opponents of Turkey’s accession are aware that Europe would be better off with a strong Turkey inside the Union, rather than a belligerent one outside it. After all, today’s Turkey is no longer the “sick man of Europe.” Its economy is poised to overtake the struggling Italian and Spanish economies in size in the coming years.

Quote: "Now we acknowledge our mistake and guilt. We offer our apology and condolences to the victims' families. We accept full responsibility for what happened in the hospital and will pay blood money for the victims' families", Qassim al-Rimi, commander of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, issuing a rare apology for the bombing of  a hospital in Yemen.

Number: 25, the number of police chiefs Turkey has removed following the recent corruption inquiry.


The Jewish World

Headline: Seagram chairman, WJC head Edgar Bronfman dead at 84

To Read: Adam Kirsch looks at an interesting Talmudic question- Since Abraham lived before God gave Moses the Torah, how can his actions be used to interpret the law?

This dual founding creates a number of ambiguities in Judaism, one of which came to the fore in this week’s Daf Yomi reading. To the rabbis of the Talmud, the service of God was defined as the study of Torah. As we have seen much earlier in the Daf Yomi cycle, they imagined even a warrior-king like David as a Torah scholar at heart, and they described his feats of military conquest as feats of learning. Naturally, the rabbis want to think about Abraham, the first Jew, in the same way. But Abraham, by any reckoning, lived many generations before Moses received the Torah. What, then, could Abraham have studied, and how did he know how to live?

Quote:  "Rudi is my new found big brother. It makes me proud that we can protect our neighbors and at the same time preserve an important part of Bradford's cultural heritage", Zulfi Karim, secretary of Bradford Council of Mosques, commenting on a joint operation with the English town's Jewish community to save the local synagogue.

Number: 6, the number of Nazi leaders whose honorary awards were revoked by the Vienna Philharmonic.

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