To Read: Marc Lynch believes that the US should make a statement and cut its aid to Egypt-
With blood in Egypt's streets and a return to a state of emergency, it's time for Washington to stop pretending. Its efforts to maintain its lines of communication with the Egyptian military, quietly mediate the crisis, and help lay the groundwork for some new, democratic political process have utterly failed. Egypt's new military regime, and a sizable and vocal portion of the Egyptian population, have made it very clear that they just want the United States to leave it alone. For once, Washington should give them their wish. As long as Egypt remains on its current path, the Obama administration should suspend all aid, keep the embassy in Cairo closed, and refrain from treating the military regime as a legitimate government.
Quote: “Since I was here last year, we have better military options than we did a year ago”, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, commenting on Iran during his trip to the Middle East.
Number: 19, Eliot Spitzer is leading the Democratic primary race for New York City Comptroller by 19 points.
To Read: Peter Beinhart tries to figure out what's behind Netanyahu's insistence that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish State-
On the surface, Netanyahu’s insistence that Abbas recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” makes little sense. In the Camp David Accords, Egypt didn’t recognize Israel “as a Jewish state.” It just recognized Israel. Same with Jordan when it made peace in 1994. Ditto with the Palestine Liberation Organization, the organization Abbas now leads, which recognized “the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security,” in the Oslo Accords signed 20 years ago. Until recently, it wasn’t even clear if the United States recognized Israel as a “Jewish state.”
As Abbas declared in 2010, Israel is “free to call itself the Israeli Zionist Jewish Empire” if it wants. Why does Netanyahu need the Palestinians to define what Israel is?
Quote: "This area was monitored by Hezbollah and we received confirmation that an Israeli patrol would enter the area, so we planted explosives there", Hezbollah Chief, Hassan Nassrallah, claiming responsibility for the blast that wounded 4 Israeli soldiers last week.
Number: $800-900m, the estimated price IBM is expected to pay for Israeli Data Security company Trusteer.
The Middle East
To Read: The New Yorker's Dexter Filkins takes a look at Erdogan's show trials-
How does Erdoğan get away with it? One reason, surely, is the silence of the Obama Administration. For all of Erdoğan’s heavy-handed tactics, the White House still sees him as a Middle Eastern moderate, a freely elected Muslim leader who is friendly to the West. There aren’t many of those. So, to a remarkable degree, Erdoğan gets a pass. Last week, two days after the conviction of Şirin and the two hundred-plus others in the Ergenekon trial, Erdoğan spoke on the phone with President Obama. According to a White House press release, the two leaders talked about the upheavals in Egypt and Syria.
But not a word about what’s happening in Turkey itself.
Quote: "The Government of Syria has formally accepted the modalities essential for cooperation to ensure the proper, safe and efficient conduct of the mission", UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman announcing that the UN is sending chemical experts to Syria.
Number: 1, the CIA ranks Syria as the number 1 threat to US national security (before Iran).
The Jewish World
To Read: Adam Kirsch tries to imagine how the Rabbis of the Talmud would respond to the lifestyle and habits of modern American Jewry-
All this made me wonder, as I have many times before in reading the Talmud, what the rabbis would make of the situation of American Jewry today. No one can say that America lacks rabbis to point out the correct halakhah, as the Jews of Kabul did. But the vast majority of Jews—unaffiliated, Reform, and even Conservative—have effectively cast off rabbinic guidance and have decided to invent their own Jewish customs. Some keep kosher at home but eat in non-kosher restaurants; some attend Shabbat services, but get there by driving to synagogue. The compromises of American Jewish life are legion.
Would these customs earn the rabbis’ respect, since they are the established practice of the majority? Or would we seem to them like Cutheans, who have lost the knowledge of the law and need to be treated with extra strictness?
Quote: "Even though Judaism has quite a humane approach to abortion, the Jewish community as a whole still often does not speak openly about abortion. Many women who have had abortions experience solitude and loneliness and even a fear of social judgment”, Elana Sztokman, executive director of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, one of the interviewees in a Tablet piece about a new Jewish ritual that comforts women who have had abortions.
Number: 90, fewer than 90 Jews remain in Yemen.